A Primer on Union Types
There are basically three different types of labor unions. There are trade unions, who are the oldest, consisting of your electricians, masons, plumbers, carpenters, and so on. These men and women serve a serious function, and the union provides them training in the best construction techniques, safety, project management, and a whole host of other things that make it pretty easy to tell when a building was built by union trades, and when a building was built by a bunch of twits who taught themselves how to bang nails with a hammer.
The second type of union, which we rail on all the time, is the public sector union. These are your teachers, police, fire, DMV workers, pencil pushers, and break takers who will sue the everloving spook out of you if you ask them to work to 5:01 on a weekday. They might agree to work one weekend a decade if you agree to double their pension. They are, of course, an unskilled bunch of cretins who are an instant and irreversible financial drain on any local, municipal, county, or state government they touch.
The third type, which we do not talk about too much, is the industrial union: this is a grab bag of service sector employees (janitors, farm workers, nuclear power plant workers, nurses, grocery baggers) as well as organized labor unions, which include everything from teamsters, steelworkers, drivers, postal employees, and on and on.
Union Membership Declines To Record Lows
Now that you know all that, which of the three categories do you think has seen the greatest membership losses? Obviously, trade unions are doing very well. And we regret to concede that public sector union growth is tied to the growth of big government. Yeah, we saw a reduction in membership the last quarter, but public sector unions are still the largest type of union nationally.
Obviously this leave the industrial unions. Membership here is bad; for example, the commercial food workers union in Chicago alone is sliver of what it once was. Frankly, private employers are sick and tired of unions driving up costs and scaring away customers; as soon as they can force a union out, they do.
Closed shops (if you want to work here, ya gotta join the union) are disappearing at crazy speeds. Businesses are literally leaving states that promote union membership and heading to states where closed shops are disallowed. Yes, the tide has turned. People dont want to be in unions, and others dont want to deal with union workers.
Imagine a world where a union simply says We had our day. We did our thing. People dont see the need for us, so we decided to close up the whole thing and go home. Enjoy the higher wages, former members: you dont owe us any more dues. Yeah, us neither.
So unions need to drive up membership. And what better way to do it than to convince undereducated younger fools that they deserve higher pay? You know, for just showing up.
The most interesting take on this crap recently is this absolutely moronic notion that fast food workers should be paid a living wage. A living wage means that you can actually live off the money you get paid, in case you wanted to make a career out of shoveling burgers into white paper bags. You laugh at the way we phrased this, but actually thats exactly what that means by a living wage. A teenager who stabs icons of sandwiches on a register or the perky girl on the drive-thru headset should make enough money to go to college, buy a house, own a car, and set up a diversified 401(k).
The living wagewhich theoretically means just enough to survive on but practically means anything you associate with survival in the United Statesis commonly but inappropriate linked to the concept of minimum wage. Minimum wage, legally defined as the lowest allowable dollar per hour that an employee may be compensated, is an inherently bad idea and severe headache for business. The Czar has previously walked you all through the business logic.
So the AFL-CIO and SEIUguess which type of unions they arehave been fomenting these minimum-wage walkouts. Basically, if your employer does not equate minimum wage with living wagepopularly but effectively set at a totally arbitrary $15 per houryou are being encouraged to stage mass walkouts.
You got that right: if you work at a fast food place or coffee shop and arent being paid $15 per hour, or $31,200 a year, you and your colleagues should just walk right out the door and refuse to work until the next day.
Okay, can you live on $31,200 a year? Remember, after tax, you would be making about $25,000 a year. Thats a shade more than two grand a month. Think that will pay your rent, pay for Obamacare, cover $15 a day in groceries, your utilities, a car payment, and auto insurance?
Never mind that. Forget we brought it up, because the $15 per hour is not a living wage. It is pure fiction. So who came up with it? Actually it originates with the Service Employees International Union, or the SEIU. And in nearly every write up you encounter where minimum wage = living wage, you will see the added demand (ready?) that these fast food workers join a union.
And that union, not surprisingly, happens to be the SEIU.
Equally non-shocking is that the vast majority of fast food workers are not interested in this bullshit. The number of fast food employees walking off their jobs ranges between 15% and 20%. Waitwhere have we seen that number before?generally, in any employee labor pool, about that number will be jackass agitators.
Go Ahead, Turkeys
So if you happen to own a fast food establishment, and about 15-20% of your staff turned their noses up at your pay scale and walked off the job, you would likely respond by recording which employees walked off the job. And you would either fire them on the spot, if you could afford the labor debt, or simply advertise that you were accepting applications to work there. And prioritize it so that the same 15-20% were the first positions replaced.
Its this simple: you dont want to work for Mr. Amundsen at $10 an hour? Quit and get a better job. Because if you dont want to work for him, he certainly doesnt want you as an employee. Maybe you have noticed the 7% unemployment rate. There are a lot of folks who would line up for $10 per hour. A motivated employee is so much more helpful than a stuck-up princess who thinks pressing the PROMO button on the register warrants her a Porsche Cayenne with GPS and Bose sound.
One thing about SEIU members: they never seem to be the heads of major organizations. Because anyone with a lick of sense, like our readers, can see that a business owner will deal with a $15/hour minimum wage pretty simply. In fact, why not let a reader tell the rest of us how she would handle it?
Dear Your Czarness:
I notice that the President is attempting another one of his famous “pivots.”
Since the whole roll-out of Obamacare has totally harshed his mellow, hey, let’s just change the subject to something all social-justicey, like raising the minimum wage. I imagine the meeting could be summarized with something like this: “All those Ebeneezer Scrouge sorts will knash their teeth (bonus!), but this is just the ticket to rally our base. Double winning!”
So Obama gives a speech yesterday extolling the virtues of hard-working single moms (for some reason he has no sympathy for hard-working married types). And he affirms his solidarity with waiters, fast-food workers, etc.
All the while, the smartest president evah, who’s pretty tech-savy (just ask him about Kayak) ignores the technological revolution that has already nearly eliminated bank clerks and is well on the way to replacing grocery-store check-out clerks. Robotic components of assembly-lines is old news, just ask the auto-workers. And now, Amazon wants to use drones for delivery? Wonder how totally stoked my favorite UPS delivery guy is about that?
But what about positions that require more academic expertise? All those professors at colleges and universities are cannot be terribly excited by Coursera’s offerings. But here’s something I’d never seen before taking our younger son on a visit to look at North Carolina State’s engineering school. I think there are some librarians who are not getting hired because of this technology:
Actually this video does not do justice to the Hunt Library’s “bookBot.” It moves much faster in real-time and is really cool to watch.
If Obama wants to raise the minimum wage, he’ll only hasten the process.
Yours from the Doublewide, JAB
Bingo. There is a reason you are being paid $9.50 an hour: you dont contribute very much. And the owner of the company is being extra nice to you by keeping you on…because for less money, she can replace you with a BookBot. Or an ATM. Or healthcare.gov.
Volgi is squirming in his chair right now, and wants the Czar to address an essay by the respected Alec Torres: Are ‘Fast-Food Worker’ Protests Just Another Gasp of Occupy?
The latest round of protests for higher fast-food wages hit New York City today, but they could have been mistaken for just about any other gathering of the city’s progressive coalition. I finally ran into the 200 or so people (by one organizer’s estimate) in downtown Manhattan, after they’d been shuffled by leaders from Times Square to downtown Brooklyn, over to Upper Manhattan and back down to City Hall, popping up to chant in front of apparently random fast-food restaurants before packing up, hitting the subway, and heading to the next establishment.
The protest — and it was certainly a protest, not a strike or a picket line, since the easy majority of the marchers, by my estimation, were not actually fast-food workers — ostensibly was aimed at a $15 an hour wage and unionization rights for fast-food employees, but the group contained such an array of interests and causes that it resembled the eclecticism of Occupy Wall Street more than a single-issue movement.
After several rounds of invocations for “justice” and “equality,” condemnations of the One Percent, calls for full-day, universal pre-school, and more, I eventually left, unsure if I had observed a demonstration for fast-food workers or an Occupy Wall Street reunion.
Not quite. In fact, this is backward.
The labor unions are pushing for unionization and using the $15/hour fiction as leverage. It is by happenstance that the average Millennial foolish enough to humor this concept is also likely to engage in Occupy-style fantasy. Both living wage = minimum wage and Occupy appeal to the same deluded man-children. Both are symptoms, not the disease.
The disease, of course, is Leftism. A $15/hour minimum wage will (a) not be a living wageand you can thank the Democrats for the rising cost of livingand (b) almost certainly destroy service businesses or ensure workers are permanently replaced by automatation.
Oh, one thing JAB did not explicitly say in her automation observation because she assumes you are smart enough to catch it: once a business owner automates a job function, he or she never goes back to de-automate. Let us suppose to ask for $15 per hour, and the business owner replaces you with an iPhone app. All right, you grabbed too much and you realize it; youre actually sorry about being so greedy. Guess what: you wont be getting your job back.
Also, catch that bit about the iPhone app? The unions will tell you that your boss dreads replacing you. In fact, you can call his bluff at any time because replacing you with a robot will cost him millions of dollars he doesnt have. Automate your job? What a farce: you know hell cough up the do-re-mi.
No, kids: robots are so1970s. Its almost 2014. For $5,000, he can replace you and all your peers by hiring a coder one time to replace you with an app. Once customers realize they can order cheese and substitute onion rings for fries by tapping on a smartphone icon, youre smoke. History. If you support a $15/hour living wage, you probably cannot do basic mathso let us help you here. $5,000 is about what you would make during summer vacation at $15 per hour. Thats not much, right? Your protest said as much. Think hes bluffing now?
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.