Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Two X nothing = nothing

Bernie Sanders Sets a Goal: Double Union Membership in 4 Years
"...would allow a majority of workers to form a union simply by signing authorization cards, rather than winning a secret ballot election ... "

The Big Squeeze (2008), Steven Greenhouse
Loc 504  “Ultimately, officials with the steelworkers say, 60 percent of Landis’s [plastic] production workers signed union support cards.”

Loc 694  “A far higher percentage of workers were immigrants, from Latin America, Vietnam, Bosnia, and Sudan. Kathy calculated that of the more than one hundred workers who had signed pro-union cards two years earlier, only fifteen remained.”

Lot of good card check going to do there.

Greenhouse, later in the book (I'm about a third through), presents Fed-X Ground drivers as making only $25,000-35,000 a year, compared to $60,000 for UPS (Teamster Union) drivers.  Amazon gig drivers may now be absorbing those jobs.  Supermarket jobs were middle class jobs pre Walmat, pre two-tier labor contracts.

Even having a union not much help there.
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Two X  nothing = nothing.  Bernie will double 6.5% private (non-gov) union density?  13% union?  40 percent of workforce under $15/hr – what min wage should be.  Min marks what highest labor firms can pay (e.g., 25% labor costs fast food) – most businesses could pay substantially more.  13% unions going to help them a lot.

I used to think centralized bargaining was the magic bullet.  On second thought not sure how much influence 13% can have over 87%, especially if union density remains as concentrated locally as is -- not in an anti-labor culture like ours.

Centralized be a great clean up hitter if we got 25% certified unions.  Sector wide agreements would be the icing on the cake if we got 50-75% certified.

I used to think centralized bargaining would be the magic bullet until I came across Andy Strom’s:
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“The new Data for Progress poll ... Trump’s favorability among the 215 Obama-Trump swing district voters who were surveyed is 71 percent—35 points ahead of Biden’s. And of all respondents, 45 percent view Trump very favorably, compared with only 4 percent who say the same for Biden.  (my bold)

They may not be coming back.  Return to Obama days they implicitly rejected with Trump?  Come up with something new -- like regular cret/recert/decert elections.

Bound to draw bipartisan support in post 2020 Senate.

"It's pretty clear that Amazon reducing its dependence on USPS, UPS, and FedEx and moving more in-house for its logistics explains a big part of that volume drop (at USPS)," Morningstar consumer equity strategist R.J. Hottovy told Business Insider.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

MY TWO NOTES TO Alexia Fernández Campbell

Re: Democrats tried to win over working-class voters. But they ignored their biggest worry.

"When you take inflation into account, workers’ real wages only grew about 1.3 percent over the past year."

Just a reminder: we don't need 3% raises -- we realistically need more like 100% raises (on average). If fast food can pay $15/hr with 25% labor costs, then, Walgreen's and Target can pay $20/hr with 15% labor costs, and, Walmart can pay $15/hr ($1,000/wk!) with 7% labor costs.

And don't forget centralized bargaining, a.k.a., sector wide labor agreements -- widely used in continental Europe, French Canada and, I believe, even in Argentina and Indonesia (once we get the unions in).

Now if the rest of the supposed (well meaning anyway) progressive class would just catch on.  ;-)

More on doubling (on average) the pay of the lower 40%.

Just as with minimum wage, people auto associate hiking lower 40% wages with job loss -- predicting lessening of (what-I-call) 59% demand.  But, doubling lower 40% income share (at loss of 14% of mid-59% income) doubles 40% demand.  Upshot: no loss of overall demand.  Examples: higher end restaurant businesses may suffer when lower wage labor gets large raises -- but IHOP parking should get more crowded.
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More on centralized bargaining.

Before I lucked into Andrew Strom's regularly scheduled cert/recert/decert proposal* the "magic bullet" I was pushing was sector wide labor agreements.  The big idea was that Congress could impose on whole industries any labor contract negotiated where the few unions already existed.  Of course, it might have been a stretch to impose agreements from 7% private (non gov) unions to the other 93% of firms.

Centralized will be a great clean up hitter if we got 25% certified unions.  Sector wide agreements would be the icing on the cake if we got 50-75% certified.