Monday, May 28, 2018

Ask the 40%

Democrats cannot “guarantee” (tens of?) millions of $15/hr jobs anymore than Republicans can tax-cut their way to massive "job creating."  The flaw in both schemes is that an economy is like a living organism and utilizes pretty much all available resources at something all the time (when not in recession).  You can't just go around planting all the jobs you want like seeds on a farm.

40% of US labor force earns $15/hr or less – possibly 60 million hanging on for dear life.  Do Bernie and Cory envision a separate “shadow” economy employing many tens of millions of Americans at $20/hr --  $20/hr, not $15/hr?

$20/hr jobs barely edge you into the middle class.

Annual Minimum Needs Budget Without Employment Health Benefits -- two adults, one child
2001 Ms. Foundation book Raise the Floor, p. 44, table 2-3 (1999 dollars converted to 2018 dollars)

  11,792  *  Housing
    9,722  *  Health Care
    7,089  *  Food
    6,987  *  Child Care
             0  *  School Age Care
    3,135  *  Transportation
     1,741  *  Clothing and Personal Expenses
        745  *  Household Expenses
        836  *  Telephone
 42,052  *  Subtotal Before Taxes

  3,217  *   Payroll Tax
  1,759  *   Federal Tax (including credits)
      631  *   State Tax (including credits)
47,661  *   Total
  *  *  *  *  *  *

Bernie supports a $15/hr min wage by 2024 – by 2024 $15 may be worth $14 – by 2024 per capita income may grow 10%.  1968 fed min wage: $11.76/hr -- per capita up something like 100% since.
  *  *  *  *  *  *

Bernie Sanders union restoration plan “ … would allow employees to form a union by a majority sign-up … require companies to negotiate with a new union within 10 days [of request] … mandate that workers in every state pay some dues … expand the law’s definition of ‘employer’ … .” (I worry why it specifies "new union" -- any word on old, long ignored unions?)

Today’s toothless, 80-year-old NLRA is the most flouted law since federal prohibition -- while being the law that the average person's ability/inability to make their weight felt economically and politically most rises or falls with.  Bernie’s bill makes an honest effort to shore up the long un-shoreupable. 

Milton Friedman said in essence that either 100% unions or 0% unions works out best for most labor –- not any percentage in between -- because unionized workers automatically scoop a proportionately larger share of the wage divide.  A hole in Uncle Miltie's vision was that any percentage of unions automatically captures a proportionately greater share of the wage/profit divide with (monopsony) ownership -- and for some reason he wasn't okay with that.

We are down to almost 0% unions: only 6% now surviving in private (non-gov) employment.  Are American workers uniquely anti-union?  Ask the 40% (there's a way).  No; US unions have been subjected to a decades long onslaught of (illegal) union busting.

Bernie’s repair bill might turn out to be Bernie’s Band-Aids on such a toxic battlefield (think McDonald's).  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  We can take our direction from Wisconsin governor Scott Walker –- and his Republican free-to-decert (sorry, Miltie) flatterers.

Scott forces his unionized employees to recertify every year (private employees more protected from same by the First Amendment and federal preemption) –- affirmation by majority of all members required, not merely of those who vote (Scott wants to make really, really sure his union members are united).

One of Scott’s admirers, the Republican Party of Iowa, fancied the same deal for their public employees in 2017: 93% voted pro union (under same not-to-vote is a "no" vote).  “Of the 33,252 eligible voters statewide, 28,448 voted to retain their unions and only 624 cast ballots in opposition.”

I wonder how union certification votes would play out across the land if our incoming blue Congress (2019) requires union cert/recert/decert-ification elections (not just decert) at every private workplace (one, three or five year cycles; local plurality rules).

Why Not Hold Union Representation Elections on a Regular Schedule?
Andrew Strom — November 1st, 2017
"Republicans in Congress have already proposed a bill that would require a new election in each [private employer] unionized bargaining unit whenever, through turnover, expansion, or merger, a unit experiences at least 50 percent turnover.  While no union would be happy about expending limited resources on regular retention elections, I think it would be hard to turn down a trade that would allow the 93% of workers who are unrepresented to have a chance to opt for unionization on a regular schedule."

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Knock out multiple Scott Walker anti-labor regs with a single constitutional punch

Knock out multiple Scott Walker anti-labor regs with a single constitutional punch.

"Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law on Monday that [besides shrinking other local labor protections] ... [f]orbids local governments from using labor peace agreements where employers agree not to interfere with attempts by labor unions to organize workers."

This section sounds very vulnerable to a First Amendment challenge.  Here the state is interfering with freedom of association of private sector workers -- whose organizing is fully constitutionally protected unlike government workers whom courts hold less fully covered."

Previously, Walker foisted rules forcing state employee unions to re-certify annually -- requiring a ratifying majority of all members, not only those who voted.  Republican intentions to crowd out even state employees' lesser association rights were only too obvious but maybe a bit too shadowy to score a clean constitutional sock on.

The union busting intention of Walker's latest scheme is palpable -- is spelled out in so many words.  Providing possibly a chance to piggyback challenges to his old  sneaky First Amendment infringements onto the back of a challenge to the new open breach -- to knock out both with a single constitutional punch.