Thursday, September 6, 2012

Crisis worsens for unions in NYC

by Greg David

The economic downturn represents a watershed for unions in New York City, argues a new report, accelerating their long-term decline in the private sector. That’s true, but more interesting is the way the process is playing out in key industries and how that affects the increasingly angry debate over inequality in New York.

Let’s not get carried away—as the annual update on the state of unions in the city from Joseph Murphy Institute at the City University of New York does in part.

New York remains the most unionized state in the nation with 24% of all workers belonging to a union and New York City remains 22% unionized. The ranking is primarily because of the way unions dominate the public sector—73% of government workers are unionized in both the state and the city compared with 37% nationally.

Worried by the successful efforts to weaken government unions in Wisconsin, the authors of the CUNY study warn of similar threats in New York—though no politician in New York has proposed anything like Gov. Scott Walker has carried out in the land of cheese and no one is likely to either.

The CUNY reports authors are not exaggerating about the crisis for private sector unions. See the chart below

One factor in the decline (to 13% now from 20% in 2005 ) has been the disappearance of the remaining large unionized factories, often after counterproductive strikes like the one that led to the demise of the Stella D’Oro plant in the Bronx. The number of unionized factory workers has fallen by 54% in the past decade although the actual number is actually modest.

More important is what is happening in construction and leisure and hospitality.

The ranks of unionized building trades people have been thinned by almost a quarter in the last decade reflecting both the decline in work and the inroads of non-union contractors exploiting the substantial gap in wage and benefit costs. Consider that a new contract, billed as including major concessions, will push the wage and benefit package for carpenters to $99 an hour (yes—an hour).

Also important is the 26% drop in leisure and hospitality. This reflects the expansion of mostly limited-service hotels that have bitterly resisted unionization to keep their costs low. After all, a new contract won by the still powerful hotel workers union eventually will increase the wages of housekeepers to $60,000 a year.

Crain’s New York Business readers may not think it makes economic sense for carpenters and housekeepers to make that much. They may be right. But the decline of unions has clearly played some role in the inequality gap. The gap between average hourly wages for union ($28.13) and non-union ($22.39) workers is larger in New York City than in the country or the state or the suburbs.

What happens next?

The keys are construction and hotels. Will the building unions continue to lose ground, even if activity picks up? Will the rise of non-union hotels become so significant that the hotel union no longer is able to demand such high wages? And if both happen, will inequality in New York increase?

When those questions are answered, we will know a lot about the future of New York City.



  2. Simple answer - Repeal NAFTA & CAFTA.

    All you dopey Femocrats jumped up & down for Slick Willie & those of you in the UBC's District Councils across the Nation made his signs, did endless brain dead standouts singing his praises because he falsely promised to never sign NAFTA into Law.

    11-months after Clinton was sworn, he fucked you, signed it & turned the nation into a Low Wage Service Sector Economy (zero benefits) thereby destroying the country's Manufacturing & Industrial base.

    Companies packed up their shit & moved overseas & you assholes shop at Walmart & drive foreign cars & trucks with the bullshit excuse that some parts are built here or that they are partially assembled here, but - the profits go overseas.

    Hussein Obama, your other fucking hero & his partners in crime (Dodd, Kennedy, Schumer, Feinstein, Boxer, Reid, Pelosi etc) are hell bent on turning the USA into a marxist/commie regime wherein the USA is a bankrupt former superpower & where they, the chosen ones control every fucking aspect of your existence from cradle to grave.

    Obama (a.k.a. Barry Soerto, Mr Mudhut Kenyan) is deficit spending at a clip which will add $5.992 Trillion Dollars in his first 4-years as compared to Bush's $4.499 Trillion over 8-years with two wars post the 9-11 Attacks.

    The exact same band of crooks named above are the primary players responsible for pushing the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) & weakening/repealing the major provisions of the Glass-Seagal Act which allowed Wall Street to become a Vegas Casino & which also allowed Banks & Insurance Companies to co-mingle assets.

    Both laws above were passed in October 2000, before Bush was elected & both are directly responsible for the mortgage derivative crisis, the Housing bubble & the crash of the market & collapse of the economy - yet, you retards blame Bush because "Johnny can't Read" unless of course it's in one of 27 other languages but fucking English, or the government appoints a translator to dispense the information to you that you need to hear.

    Meanwhile, back in the Congress, Femocrats were busy lining their own pockets & laughing all the way to the bank, the Cayman Islands, their yachts, private jets & country clubs & everyone of you suckers in the Union continually fall for the rah, rah Union bullshit - all of which is predicated on raw emotion verses any factual content.

    Go figure, as most in the Union are either too lazy or too stupid to think for themselves. None of you ever read the actual text of any laws, but then always chime in with the so called facts (as they were sold, translated, told or spun to you).

    Remember Joe Isuzu? McCarron & his cohorts do Joe Isuzu on steroids ala their Harvard course which Obama has mastered too..."Neuro-Linguistic Hypnosis". Have any doubts, go watch McCarrons Convention speeches from 2000, 2005 & 2010 - fucking classic's & you idiots fall for it every time, hook, line & sinker.

    Anchor babies, English as a Second Language & the Cradle to Grave Welfare Benefits for housing, food stamps, free gas, electric, land lines, cell phones, hospital care, schooling etc. Yee Ha, rah, rah, go Union !

    How come we're in decline Bubba?


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