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View Diary: Prevailing wage and where is Organized Labor going? (25 comments)

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  •  We're making the same point, (1+ / 0-)
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    but with different reactions. There comes a point where the union wage becomes the province of a few, and not especially relevant. Yeah, union wages in GM influence non-union wages at Nissan, to keep Nissan workers from unionizing, if nothing else.

    But in this case, we are seeing a different phenomenon. Obviously, the very high union wage isn't affecting the broader wage scale for non-union workers, or at least not much, since laborers are available for much, much less. So let's go from that empirical observation backwards: why not?

    Why not, I suggest, is because public-sector construction project labor costs are the result, in part, of a non-economic process and the result is not a premium of 25% (the estimate of your article), rather 200% to 500%. The lower figure is also, ballpark, what non-unionized but labor-honoring employers (In-and-Out Burger, Costco [partially unionized]) pay over Walmart and its ilk. I well believe,as their management obviously does, that they get it back in better quality of work performed. For example, Costco has a lower rate of employee theft than Walmart.

    I think it's realistic that Walmart workers can unionize and move up 25% (plus many other benefits). I don't believe in 200% or 500% potential raises. Only hedge fund managers get that. So, what is the plan of these unions? To bring more work under union auspices, or to guarantee a very comfortable living for a comparatively small number of current members of the union working on public-sector projects?

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