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How Unionism Created the Coming Jobs Depression
By: Jabram Raven Allen
Jan. 27th 2011

Due to Union opposition in creating a three tier work force consisting of : civic workers ( workers that would rely upon our current government for employment in areas of public works and service; while accepting a 1/3 salary cut in those salaries normally earned by both Union and private sector workers in exchange for job permanency, compensatory benefits, no union representation), private sector workers (those willing to compete in an open job market for lucrative business opportunities while risking frequent unemployment, lack of employee representation and bargaining power usually provided by unions), and finally Union workers that rely upon Unions to secure steady employment, healthy work conditions and benefits through collective bargaining and their ability to organize, support, and implement public protest against employers which are capable of disrupting productivity; thus preventing corporate stock holders from benefiting from their investments in various industries.

During times of socio-economic difficulty, Unions damage a state/city government’s ability to utilize revenues generated from state/city sales taxes to maintain/upgrade its infrastructure and services by insisting upon wages that employers may not be able to provide – this is because wages are directly related to the cost of goods and expenditures needed for their creation; whereas private and civic workers may be willing to work for whatever wages and benefits are offered by existing employers including the government. Due to their dependence upon State and Federal government to provide workers for various projects at cost, civic workers (which may consist of individuals that are considered unemployable by private sector employers or Unions) will work for much lower wages than Union workers that insist upon a particular set of wages or private sector workers that are willing to operate based upon a feast or feminine reality within the job market which creates a mercenary perspective within private sector workers.

Civic workers which consist of individuals that are considered unemployable within the job market are able to provide their state of origin with inexpensive labor in exchange for on job training (OJT), basic social health benefits: housing, medical care, food/clothing vouchers, etc. benefits that the state formerly provided through various programs such as SSI/SSDI, Food Stamps, or General Assistance. Private and Union workers are not willing to work under this type of arrangement; thus they may prove more expensive than their state of origin can afford. For instance, under this arrangement civic workers may cost 2/3 of what a Union or private sector worker may cost to perform the same type of labor. This decreased labor cost allows both State and Federal government to initiate and complete much needed repairs to our public infrastructure during times of serious socio-economic impairment which could not be done under the costs required to employ both private sector and Union workers.

However; there is a difference between management and labor when it comes to Public workers just as there is a difference between management and labor in the Private sector. Each sector, both public and private has come to possess an innate ruling class which is often over paid in comparison to their non-management brethren who work for much lower wages. This phenomenon of an elite class in terms of management and labor also exist amongst various occupations required to operate those parts of our city infrastructure that requires contact between city and federal employees and private citizens which   may increase or decrease based upon differences in various states -- for example a nurse in Boston may perform the same type of work as a nurse in San Francisco, but earn much less based upon the cost of living differences in both cities. However, this may not have entered the nurse’s thinking of moving from Boston to San Francisco in order to gain more substantial pay and benefits, nor the fact that she/he may be displacing another nurse who is a native of San Francisco by pushing that individual out of the job market and onto public assistance; thus increasing the strain upon the city’s social welfare system.
What is in the nurse’s mind is that they perceive Boston’s pay rate for nurses as being unfair when compared to San Francisco’s pay rate for nurses. It is also quite likely that this fiction of unfair pay rates between San Francisco and Boston nurses is intentionally unaddressed by Nursing Unions in Boston who willing allow the Boston nurse to persist in their belief of unfair pay differences perhaps to suit their own agenda such as getting nurses in Boston to fight for a higher unnecessary rate of pay. This is based upon the fact that Unions themselves are not monolithic entities with identical goals, visions and perspectives.
 According to CHARLES V. BAGLI of the New York Times in an article published December 9, 2010, as stated by  Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, a 100,000-member federation of electricians, iron workers and operating engineers “at times there will be competing interests between public- and private-sector unions.” In short, it may be in a Unions best interest to: misrepresent the work and living conditions of worker’s in another state in order to get workers behind their particular agenda; play ball with political parties whose socio-economic philosophies are out of alignment with their own even at the expense of workers in other occupations, or consider other occupations not as valuable as their own and therefore expendable. This behavior would explain why Unions may prove territorial in nature and actually fight off other Unions in order to preserve their place in the pecking order, or to even dislodge another Union. 

To resolve this issue and return as many U.S. citizens to work, it would be necessary to create three classes of labor in which the phenomenon of elitism amongst labor is dispersed and wages are stabilized. The means of creating these three classes would be to 1) national standardization of wages within the public sector; 2) decreasing the wage disparity between management and labor within the public sector, 3) removal of unions from the public sector; while creating a standard basic social health benefit agreement which is enforced by government agencies such as OSHA and others; 4) exclusion of Union labor from projects that require continual maintenance and possess high turnover in order to keep such maintenance from exceeding state and federal affordability cost; thus preventing much needed maintenance of state/city infrastructure from being discontinued and resulting in public health hazards and deteriorating public services.

These steps would result in creating a situation in which unions would be forced to compete in the private sector against non-unionized workers while decreasing expenses within the public sector; thus making it possible for workers that are considered unemployable to be hired within the public sector and perform labor in areas that would be undesirable to both Union and Private sector workers.


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