Category: Uncategorized

American Manufacturing Workers Still Enjoy a Compensation Premium Over Other Similar Workers

By Economic Policy Institute

In a new paper, EPI Distinguished Fellow Lawrence Mishel finds that, although the increased shift in manufacturing work to temporary staffing agencies has eroded manufacturing pay and job quality, manufacturing workers still earn 13.0 percent more in hourly compensation than comparable private-sector workers. This manufacturing premium, however, has declined by about one fourth (3.9 percentage points) since the 1980s, when it was 16.9 percent.

The manufacturing premium has eroded as manufacturing firms respond to competition by squeezing workers and suppliers—paying lower hourly wages and increasingly using lower-paid staffing agency workers. The wage advantage of workers directly employed in manufacturing has fallen from 14.7 percent in the 1980s to 10.4 percent in the 2010s, which represents a significant decline (of 4.3 percentage points or about 30 percent), but which still constitutes a substantial manufacturing wage premium. Meanwhile, staffing and temporary help services provided 11.3 percent of all manufacturing employment in 2015, up from just 2.3 percent in 1989. The increased use of workers through staff intermediaries lowered the manufacturing compensation premium by 4.0 percent in the 2000s.

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EPI Calls for Raising Gas Tax to Fund Infrastructure Improvements

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

            WASHINGTON (PAI)—Saying “there is no free lunch or road or bridge,” in paying to fix or improve the nation’s roads, bridges, subways, buses, airports and other infrastructure, the Economic Policy Institute is calling for raising the federal gas tax, retaining the key federal role and funding for such projects – and for keeping worker rights as part of the package.

            Those positions, laid out by EPI President Thea Lee at a March 7 House Transportation panel hearing, agree with those of transportation, building trades and other unions, but fly in the face of the anti-tax, anti-worker, anti-federal orthodoxy of Congress’s ruling Republicans.

            Lawmakers called two sessions on the GOP Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion 10-year infrastructure outline. Lee was the only witness the Democratic minority was allowed to invite.

            The day before, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao discussed Trump’s blueprint, while the other witnesses seated with Lee were from industry, state highway departments or business.

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Low-Wage Workers, Progressives Push for National Minimum Wage Hike

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

 WASHINGTON (PAI)—Cynthia Murphy wants a raise. Progressive Democrats in the U.S. House want to get it for her.

            Murphy, a well-spoken African-American woman with a daughter in college, has toiled at the Burger King in the Pentagon’s underground food mall for a decade. She earns $9.50 an hour and hasn’t had a raise, ever.

            She’s had to take a second job to make ends meet, “and I use food stamps and Section 8” public housing subsidies, she adds. She also borrowed $5,000 so her daughter could start at a local college.

            Raising her pay to $15 an hour over seven years, which is what the Dems want, would help her – and millions of other working women – a lot.

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Jobless Rate Steady at 4.1% in February

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

            WASHINGTON (PAI)—The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in February, the fifth straight month it hasn’t budged. Businesses claimed to create a net of 287,000 new jobs last month, while governments added another 26,000, a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics survey said. All the added government jobs were in local schools.

            But while the number of jobs grew, so did the number of jobless, by 22,000, to 6.71 million, BLS added. And what seemed to be a start of workers’ pay rising as the job market tightened, wasn’t, added Economic Policy Institute analyst Elise Gould.

            “Nominal hourly wage growth remains relatively disappointing at 2.6 percent year-over-year, so we clearly have a ways to go before reaching the 3.5 percent wage growth — at a minimum — that would be consistent with” both government inflation targets and productivity.

            In short, workers are still producing more than employers are willing to pay them for.

 

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Union Matters

PRO Act Would Put Power Back in Workers’ Hands

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

Between 1935 and 1965, union membership rose precipitously in the United States. Wages increased in tandem with productivity, benefits improved, the middle class blossomed and income inequality dwindled.

Those good times are over, however. After 1965, the rate of unionization steadily fell from the high of about 30 percent to 10.5 percent now. Wages stagnated after 1970, even as productivity increased. Income inequality rose to Gilded Age rates.

This was no accident. It was a result of a calculated campaign launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and financially fed by corporations and right wing billionaires. They secured appointment of conservative, anti-union judges who ruled against unions. They bankrolled right-wing political candidates who passed anti-union legislation. And they subsidized anti-union organizations that taught corporations how to skirt the law and twist workers’ arms to defeat union organization efforts at workplaces.

Now, however, Democrats in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have introduced legislation intended to reverse the union slide by restoring workers’ rights. 

The Protecting the Right to Work (PRO) Act, introduced on May 2, would make it easier for workers to form unions and would more effectively punish employers that violate the rights of workers trying to organize.

The proposed law would facilitate unionization, which Democrats believe would raise workers’ wages and reduce income inequality. Union workers earn about 13 percent more than nonunion workers and receive better benefits and pensions.

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The Richest Fantasy

The Richest Fantasy