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Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category

“Unions may protect wages, but they also slow job growth.”

So says Shikha Dalmia:

Grand Valley State University economist Hari Singh found that if Michigan had been a right-to-work state, the auto industry would have seen a 25 percent gain in jobs since 1965. Instead, it lost 56.6 percent just between 2002 and 2009, shrinking its work force by 165,777. In a functioning market, high unemployment would lead to lower wages. But in Michigan’s auto industry, Singh found, wages actually rose 18.1 percent during that time.

Unions congratulate themselves for protecting workers’ wages, but they have imposed a heavy price on everyone else. Not a single foreign automaker has ever taken advantage of Michigan’s legions of out-of-work but highly trained employees, preferring to train novices in right-to-work states.

Plus this:

Since jobs can’t come to Michigan, Michigan residents followed the jobs. Michigan lost 11.7 percent of its 25-34 age group between 1993 and 2003 — while right-to-work states gained 3.8 percent. Indeed, the 2009 Census revealed that Michigan had experienced the third-highest emigration in the country. Otherwise, Michigan’s unemployment situation would be even grimmer.

But the hidden costs of labor unions have become impossible to ignore, partly because Michigan’s collapsing real estate market has made it hard for homeowners to sell and relocate. There is a new desperation to do something to jumpstart job growth, which is why unions are in the cross hairs.

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From the L.A. Times:

In a bid to speed up negotiations that have dragged on for more than eight months, union officials representing supermarket workers in Southern California took a step closer Thursday night to going on strike.

Officials from the United Food and Commercial Workers gave 72 hours notice to cancel their labor contract extension with the region’s three leading grocery chains, a mandatory step before a walkout. Once the contract is no longer in effect, grocery workers can strike at any time.

The contract covered an estimated 62,000 checkers, baggers, meat cutters and other grocery workers across the region, including those employed by Ralphs, which is owned by Kroger Co. of Cincinnati; Vons and Pavilions, owned by Safeway Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif.; and Albertsons, which is owned by SuperValu Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn.

Greg Conger, president of UFCW Local 324 in Orange County, said union officials felt they had no choice but to take this step. “It’s time to bring these negotiations to an end,” Conger said. “The talks have been going at a glacial pace. “If the employers don’t snap out of it, and give our members a proposal that we can live with, the only option we have left is a strike.”

The sticking point?  Healthcare.

Under the latest offer from the employers, grocery workers would pay $9 a week for individual coverage and $23 a week for a family, company and union officials said.

Wow.  $36 per month for an employee’s share of healthcare.  I wish.  Juxtapose that with this headline:

Unemployment Worsens in California

The unemployment picture in California – the largest state by population – worsened in August, as the jobless rate ticked up to 12.1 percent.

Only neighboring Nevada – at 13.4 percent — has a higher unemployment rate in the nation. (On the whole, the jobless rate for the country is at 9.1 percent).

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) said employers in the state slashed payrolls by 8,400 during the month. The government in particular is shedding positions at an alarming rate – local and state government agencies cut 3,600 positions in August.

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You can’t make this stuff up.

From William A. Jacobson:

If you want a good measure of how deeply the collective bargaining bill in Wisconsin has disrupted public sector unions, there is no better example than the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC).

Last month WEAC announced that it was laying off 40% of its staff. With little over which to collectively bargain, and with dues no longer withheld from paychecks, the need for and sustainability of a union bureaucracy could not be justified.

Now WEAC is being boycotted by National Staff Organization (NSO), a union representing educational union employees.

Isn’t that great, education union employees have their own union? Is there a union for employees of education union employee unions?

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From Duane Lester:

The local media was outside of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU Local 21) offices in Longview, Washington gathering interviews and b-roll.

Here’s what happened when one of the union members, who said his name was “F*ck You C*cksucker,” came outside to discuss their possible trespassing (caution, rough language in video):

.

Plus this from Warner Todd Huston:

After months of accusations that it is the Tea Party movement that is somehow “dangerous” to America, much of such rhetoric coming from union members and their supporters, we get union members of the Longshoremen storming the Port of Longview, Washington taking hostages, destroying property, and generally acting like lawless thugs.

And don’t forget that while all of this was happening, the union’s president, Richard Trumka, was listening to Obama’s jobs address as an invited guest of the President.

It’s rough out there, but you shouldn’t be surprised to learn there’s a lot at stake.  According to the Daily Caller:

Longshoremen are among the best-paid blue collar workers in the country, partly because of union-negotiated contracts. Longshoremen with 10 years’ of experience earn roughly $30 per hour, according to payscale.com, a website that tracks typical salaries across various U.S. careers.

Wages for East Coat longshoremen are moderate because of competition among ports. But nearly all West Coast dock-workers are part of the ILWU, which uses its monopoly to boost wages for its members.

In 2007, average annual full-time wages for 15,000 workers at 29 West Coast ports topped $136,000, according to the Pacific Maritime Association, which negotiates and administers contracts between ports and the ILWU. Longshoremen earned an average of more than $125,000, clerks more than $145,000 and foremen more than $200,000.

Workers also get benefits packages worth $50,000 per year, according to the association’s 2007 report.

Plus this:

When The Daily Caller visited the ILWU’s downtown Washington, D.C., headquarters, a woman who worked in the union’s office said no ILWU staffers were there and no one could answer any questions.

Unsatisfied and not believing the young woman, TheDC rang the doorbell on the union office’s locked door, which had no windows. ILWU legislative director Lindsay McLaughlin opened the door and asked, “Can I help you?”

TheDC responded by asking if he would comment on the threats, the physical and verbal attacks, and the disparaging, vitriolic rhetoric his union member used in the video. McLaughlin promptly slammed the door in TheDC’s face, refusing to answer any questions.

 

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