As a former union member, Reader Denis Drew writes about Labor and Unions. You can read him at Angry Bear from time to time or at his Blog site: “On Today’s Page,” on todays page, Denis Drew.
Jimmy Hoffa’s dream – Jimmy Hoffa’s worst nightmare
First: Jimmy Hoffa’s medical labor market wet dream:
a) cannot stop technical employees from organizing,
b) demand is everywhere and ever growing
c) bills paid automatically by insurance or government,
d) bonus: once trained, employees can change location,
Jimmy Hoffa’s labor worst labor market nightmare – gouging physician residents:
a) half the pay of physician assistants (PAs),
b) full four years in medical school versus only three for PAs,
c) perform more complicated diagnosing and procedures than PAs,
d) 100 hour work week versus 40 for PAs,
e) median pay $65,000 a year versus $75,000 for Nurses!
I’m not trying to make a big pitch for PAs today. I am just using their extreme plight as an example of remuneration lost when labor has no wherewithal to defend itself. Even trained medical doctors can be (will be) duped on payday if they lack bargaining punch. What can the rest of unorganized expect?
(I’m not sure why residents have no means to fight back – possibly feel trapped because that they suspend their education the moment they suspend their work – or perhaps stuck in the “social/cultural” calculus that they are in school and lucky to be getting paid any amount at all. When confronted with such deep “social/philosophical” questions ask myself: What would Jimmy Hoffa say?)
Labor unions effectively couple employees to paying customers in free market bargaining– allowing them to calibrate their wage demands according to how much they think they can squeeze out of paying customers. Walmart labor costs are 7% — Imagine what the Teamsters Union could do with that. Add 7% to the price of merchandise – even if sales dropped 7%, most employees would be far better off.
Walmart’s sales might go up if its pay raises were part of a nationwide movement to up lower wages, sending more dollars to retailers who serve lower income shoppers.
Quick and easy path to across-the-board unionization of America: federal legislation mandating regularly scheduled union cert/recert/decert elections at every private (non-gov) work place: “Why Not Hold Union Representation Elections on a Regular Schedule?” ✦ OnLabor, Andrew Strom.
Fifty percent of American workers say they want to be in a union.
Only 6% of non-government workers are union members. The only thing standing in the way of starting a political wildfire of support for regularly scheduled union elections? Seems to me, nobody thinks it possible to turn the labor market around that much, that quickly — too good to be true – grandiosity insufficiency?
This essay seeks to make it seem impossible to work without a union.