ON TODAY’S PAGE: Ask the 40%

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CHICAGO, IL — January 26, 2019 — Democrats cannot “guarantee” (tens of?) millions of $15/hr jobs anymore than Republicans can tax-cut their way to massive “job creating.”  The flaw in both schemes is that an economy is like a living organism and utilizes pretty much all available resources at something all the time (when not in recession). You can’t just go around planting all the jobs you want like seeds on a farm.

40% of US labor force earns $15/hr or less – possibly 60 million hanging on for dear life. Do Bernie and Cory envision a separate “shadow” economy employing many tens of millions of Americans at $20/hr — $20/hr, not $15/hr?


$20/hr jobs barely edges you into the middle class.

Annual Minimum Needs Budget Without Employment Health Benefits — two adults, one child 

2001 Ms. Foundation book Raise the Floor, p. 44, table 2-3 (1999 dollars converted to 2018 dollars)


11,792 * Housing 

 9,722 * Health Care 

 7,089 * Food 

 6,987 * Child Care 

0 * School Ave Care 

 3,135 * Transportation 

 1,741 * Clothing and Personal Expenses 

745 * Household Expenses 

836 * Telephone 

42,052*Subtotal Before Taxes 

 3,217 * Payroll Tax 

 1,759 * Federal Tax (including credits) 

631 *  State Tax (including credits) 

47,661 * Total 

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Bernie supports a $15/hr min wage by 2024 – by 2024 $15 may be worth $14 – by 2024 per capita income may grow 10%. 1968 federal min wage: $11.76/hr — per capita up something like 100% since.


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Bernie Sanders union restoration plan “ … would allow employees to form a union by a majority sign-up … require companies to negotiate with a new union within 10 days [of request] … mandate that workers in every state pay some dues … expand the law’s definition of ‘employer’ … .” (I worry why it specifies “new union” — any word on old, long ignored unions?)


Today’s toothless, 80-year-old National Labor Relations Board (NRLA) https://www.nlrb.gov is an independent federal agency that protects the rights of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions. Yet the NLRA is the most flouted law since federal prohibition — while being the law that the average person’s ability/inability to make their weight felt economically and politically most rises or falls with. Bernie’s bill makes an honest effort to shore up the long un-shoreupable.   

We are down to almost 0% unions: only 6% now surviving in private (non-gov) employment. Are American workers uniquely anti-union? Ask the 40% — there’s a way (see below). No; US unions have been subjected to a decades long onslaught of (illegal) union busting. 

Bernie’s repair bill might turn out to be Bernie’s Band-Aids on such a toxic battlefield (think McDonald’s). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We can take our direction from Wisconsin governor Scott Walker –- and his Republican free-to-decert (sorry, Miltie Friedman) flatterers.

Scott forces his unionized employees to recertify every year (private employees more protected from same by the First Amendment and federal preemption) –- affirmation by majority of all members required, not merely of those who vote (Scott wants to make really, really sure his union members are united).

I wonder how union certification votes would play out across the land if our incoming blue Congress (2019) requires union cert/recert/decert-ification elections (not just decert) at every private workplace (one, three or five year cycles; local plurality rules).

Why Not Hold Union Representation Elections on a Regular Schedule?~~ Andrew Strom — November 1st, 2017

“Republicans in Congress have already proposed a bill that would require a new election in each [private employer] unionized bargaining unit whenever, through turnover, expansion, or merger, a unit experiences at least 50 percent turnover. While no union would be happy about expending limited resources on regular retention elections, I think it would be hard to turn down a trade that would allow the 93% of workers who are unrepresented to have a chance to opt for unionization on a regular schedule.”


Quick reset of the American labor market:

FIRST, recognize that old fashioned union organizing as we knew it may safely be declared dead (forever!) in this country. Even if we now make union busting a fed felony and hire (tens of?) thousands of fed investigators, what’s to keep millions of business owners and managers from laughing it off, asking: “What are you going to do, lock up all the business know how of the country?” 

SECOND, observe Repub: H.R.2723 (115th Congress) — Employee Rights Act

“(2) require union recertification after a turnover in the workforce exceeding 50% of the bargaining unit”


THIRD, think blue wave Dem modification: H.R.2723 (1/2) — 116th Congress — All Employees Rights Act

“(1) Require union cert/recert/decert elections at all private workplaces — option for one, three or five year cycles, local plurality rules.”


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Remember; all those blue collar, swing states that have supposedly swung irretrievably into the Republican column voted for Obama — not just over Wall Street Romney in 2012 — but over Viet war hero, half-sensible Republican John McCain in 2008. Looking for someone thought might finally hear out their complaints (no joy).

Late Note: just learned Jesse Jackson won 1988 Dem primary in Michigan with 54% over both Dem rivals, Dukakis and Gephardt.

Promise their own economic and political power back any time they want to vote to cert and they can easily be persuaded to return to the party of their long belonging.


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Denis Drew arrived on earth in 1944 (if from somewhere else in the universe, those memories have been erased for security reasons). For more of his work, visit: www.ontodayspage.blogspot.com

eHeziON TODAY’S PAGE: Ask the 40%

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