A unionized Volkswagen plant in Tennessee could mean big things for workers nationwide

“There’s a significant and persistent union premium, with unionized workers making more money. Additionally, there’s the spillover effects of this. If you have a high unionization rate in your locality, the other employers pay better as well, to remain competitive — a kind of “rising tides lifts all boats” situation. Without unionization, in the South, it depresses wages across the board, and then in turn it depresses wages across the country because there’s always this threat that auto companies could leave Detroit and go south.”

https://www.vox.com/money/2024/4/24/24138640/uaw-union-vote-volkswagen-tennessee

Teacher’s Union Sues to Stop New York Congestion Pricing Plan

“Because NEPA allows third parties to sue over allegedly inadequate environmental studies, it’s become a favorite tool of environmentalists, slow growth activists, and garden variety NIMBY (not in my backyard) trying to stop or delay infrastructure projects.”

https://reason.com/2024/01/05/teachers-union-sues-to-stop-new-york-congestion-pricing-plan/

Why Biden’s strike magic faltered

“For Biden, the tried-and-tested formula for defusing labor disputes has included back-channel negotiations that kept the pressure on companies to make concessions to workers, along with his agencies’ efforts to make it easier for employees to organize and his own frequent public praise for labor activists. Fain, though, made it clear he doesn’t want quiet murmuring from the administration behind closed doors, and he wasn’t satisfied with Biden’s remarks from Washington that automakers should “go further” in their offers.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/09/25/uaw-strike-bidens-strategy-00117656

Biden’s New ‘Prevailing Wage’ Rule Will Cost Taxpayers, Benefit Unions, and Hike Inflation

“the changes are a significant step backward. Biden is effectively undoing a major change made by the Reagan administration—changes that were made, fittingly, to help combat inflation.
That change, made in 1982, repealed the “30 percent rule” that guided the process for determining what wages would be paid on which projects. Under the 30 percent rule, the prevailing wage for any particular area would be based on the highest wages paid to at least 30 percent of workers within the same area.

You don’t need an advanced degree in accounting to see how that mandate could artificially hike wages on federal projects. The government barred itself from even considering bids that might pay average wages, thereby obligating taxpayers to pay more than they might have had to in an open market.”

https://reason.com/2023/08/11/bidens-new-prevailing-wage-rule-will-cost-taxpayers-benefit-unions-and-hike-inflation/

Teachers are striking for more than just pay raises

“Increasingly over the past decade, teachers unions are introducing what they call “common good demands” alongside salary and benefit requests during bargaining. These demands can include defunding campus police, offering more eco-friendly and free transportation options, shielding students from evictions, and more.”

The Rail Safety Act Is About Union Handouts, Not Safety

“After many years of working in the policy world, I have concluded that politics is at most 10 percent about making the world better and safer. The rest is at least 45 percent theater and 45 percent catering to special interest groups. Further evidence for my assessment comes from the recent grandstanding in the U.S. Senate on rail safety.
One reason why so much of what comes out of Congress is useless, if not straight up destructive, boils down to incentives. Politicians need something they can brag about when they seek reelection or election to higher office. Meanwhile, legislators are constantly surrounded by special interests who plead for government-granted privilege such as subsidies, loan guarantees, tariffs, or regulations cleverly designed to hamstring competitors. Politicians rarely hear from the victims of their policies. Few voters can trace the origin of the higher prices they pay and the lower living standards they suffer.”

Public Sector Unions Are Trampling Our Public Services

“The California Teachers’ Association is the most-powerful voice in education. Police and fire unions are the best-funded and most muscular political players at the local level. The prison guards’ union has an inordinate influence on corrections policy.
Unions aren’t entirely to blame for California’s myriad problems and crises, but they provide a heckler’s veto to any reform idea that could realistically improve public services. Consider how vociferously teachers’ unions opposed school reopenings. Lawmakers rarely propose any idea that would antagonize any of the state’s easily antagonized unions. Imagine running a business where the employees could immediately quash any proposal that might help consumers or reduce operating costs.

“Through their extensive political activity, these government workers’ unions help elect the very politicians who will act as ‘management’ in their contract negotiations—in effect handpicking those who will sit across the bargaining table from them,” noted Daniel DiSalvo in a 2010 article in National Affairs. No wonder California’s municipal firefighters earn on average more than $200,000 a year—even as the state complains about an inadequate number of firefighters.”

Unions Have Been Under Attack For Decades, But Michigan Just Gave Them A Big Win

“Michigan repealed an 11-year-old law that weakened unions’ power in the workplace. Known as a “right-to-work” law, this type of legislation has been around since at least 1943, and Michigan is now one of only a handful of states to ever repeal it.
When Michigan’s law passed in 2012, the state was firmly in Republican hands. The party held control of the governorship, state Senate and House, after riding the Tea Party wave to power. Conversely, this repeal comes a few short months after the Democratic Party — which has long allied with unions — scored their own trifecta for the first time in roughly four decades. Meanwhile, in 2022, unions reached their highest popularity since 1965. In the repeal of right-to-work, though, partisanship could play just as much of a role as love of unions does.

Because every worker covered by a union contract receives its benefits, private-sector unions are often allowed to collect fees from those employees regardless of whether they join the union. But the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act allowed states to pass laws — branded “right-to-work” laws — that would end that practice, and a flurry of states did indeed pass them.

The primary effect of the laws is to weaken unions in the states where they’re passed. Because workers can gain the benefits of unionization without paying for them, it creates a classic “free-rider” economic problem. Why pay union dues if you get the benefits anyway? As a result, unions often have fewer resources to organize and bargain with.”

“Proponents of right-to-work laws have long held that decreasing unions’ power in a state will entice employers and lead to more jobs, and that the benefits of added employment lift people out of poverty and increase job satisfaction. “There’s well-known stories about especially Southern states saying, ‘Well, we’re gonna give you a bunch of subsidies to support your investment, and also we’ll make sure there’s going to be no union,’” said Thomas Lemieux, an economist at the University of British Columbia who has studied the recent wave of right-to-work laws. However, studies suggest that that hasn’t led to wage growth or greater worker protections in those states. A common criticism about many studies showing the benefits of right-to-work laws is that they fail to control for all of the other factors that might lead to economic and job growth. “It’s certainly fair to have a debate about what are the costs and benefits of unionization,” Lemieux said.

Lemieux said that the jobs created tend not to include the benefits that unionized jobs bring, because the workers have little bargaining power. In states like Michigan, income inequality has increased as union density has declined; this appears to be because the presence of unions tends to lower the number of households at the top and bottom of the income scale. The presence of unions may also signal support for, and provides organizing around, other state policies that benefit workers, said David Kemper, the senior state policy coordinator at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank that supports unions. In general, right-to-work states scored lower on a number of issues, from wages to workplace safety conditions to political participation, according to a report by Illinois Economic Policy Institute.2 and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.”