Tuesday, January 23, 2018


After reading Rachel Cohen’s article in the Intercept describing how the right wing went wild to fend off any pro-union legislation in Obama years …

 … "The business community hated EFCA, correctly recognizing that it would have shifted power relations between workers and employers. “This will be Armageddon,” the vice president for labor policy at the Chamber of Commerce complained." …

… while the public never really awoke that anything ambitious for the average person was in the works …

 … "To do something that will significantly shift power relations in the U.S. cannot be done quietly as a negotiated deal, it cannot happen without a loud clamor for it. It needs to be big enough and presented in ways people can understand." …

… it occurred to me (with my usual eighth-grade math approach) that with only 6% union members now in non-gov work — that is 94% not — any union issue inherently heavily tends to appear to one and all like a marginal issue — concerning only a “small circle of friends” — it’s just the natural human imaging issue.

OTH, proposing mandatory union cert/re-cert elections (one, three or five years — plurality rules) at every non-gov workplace speeds the labor organizing issue crashing into the lives of every worker in the country and powerfully so — the perfect “Madison Avenue” solution.


Monday, January 8, 2018

Fifty percent ain't one-percenters

The Minimum Wage, EITC, and Criminal Recidivism
Amanda Y. Agan and Michael D. Makowsky,
(Tyler Cohen: "here is an new and important approach")

"We find that the average minimum wage increase of 8% reduces the probability that men and women return to prison within 1 year by 2%. This implies that on average the wage effect, drawing at least some ex-offenders into the legal labor market, dominates any reduced employment in this population due to the minimum wage. These reductions in re-convictions are observed for the potentially revenue generating crime categories of property and drug crimes ... "

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Something like half of Chicago gang age, minority males are in street gangs (100,000).

Berkeley professor Martin Sanchez-Jankowski found, upon spending nine years on the street in five NYC and LA poverty stricken neighborhoods, that ghetto schools fail because students (and teachers!) don't see anything remunerative enough waiting for them in the labor market to make it worth the extra effort.  Chicago teachers and their union seem to have cracked this).
Cracks in the Pavement: Social Change and Resilience in Poor Neighborhoods –  2008

Fifty percent ain't one-percenters.  Flatly stated, American born workers just wont scramble, full-out all day -- the way new Americans bustle through their  days at my Micky D's across the street -- for $10/hr.  Eventually all such jobs (see an American born cabbie lately?) get "in-sourced" to relatively desperate immigrants (not kicking immigrants here -- I want them to benefit from higher pay too).
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Super easy way back is restoring healthy labor union density (6% unions outside gov equates to 20/10 bp)?  When Democrats take over Congress, we must institute mandatory union certification and re-certification elections at every work place (stealing a page from the Republican’s anti-union playbook -- see Wisconsin gov workers). I would add the wrinkle of making the cycle one, three or five years — plurality rules — take a lot of potential rancor out of first time votes in some workplaces.

Why Not Hold Union Representation Elections on a Regular Schedule?

November 1st, 2017 – Andrew Strom

Simply put, if fast food can pay $15/hr at 33% (!) labor costs, then, other retail should be able pay $20/hr at 10-15% labor costs, and, Walmart (God bless it) may be able to pay $25/hr at 7% labor costs.  If this means shifting 10% of overall income to the bottom 40%, that means scratching 14% of their income from the "middle" 59% (who get roughly 70% of overall income) -- in higher prices.  Which may mean we have been paying the 40% too little for too along.  But if the 40% get labor union organized (where this little speech is going) we may find ourselves willing to up if we want them to show up at work.

I have always been willing to tell any gang banger (not that I ever run into any) that side-ways guns and gang signs and all that would look pretty funny in, say, Germany where they pay people to work.  And, that if Walmart were paying $25/hr we wouldn't be hearing about any of this here.

As it is, the "middle" 59% can replenish their pockets at the expense of top 1% income whose share has ballooned from 10% to 22.5% over recent (de-unionizing) decades.  Just reintroduce confiscatory taxation of the kind existing in the Eisenhower era.  Say, 90% over $2 million income -- and this time we really mean it -- very top incomes (CEOs, news anchors, er, quarterbacks) now 20X what they were since per capita income only doubled.  I predict any social inertia (it's only human nature) on the part of the 59% to jack upper taxes up will be overcome by the friendly persuasion on the part of the 40% -- who want to jack up the price of that burger just a bit more.  :-)