Unions keep wages high. They do it through negotiations and collective bargaining. When in the same labor pool, non-union shops have to compete at the same level and that means they have to offer comparable wages, benefits and whatever else the unions have been able to negotiate.
So, it's no surprise that Southern Senators who aren't fans of the concept of solidarity (or that companies only pay you what you force them to pay you). Since most were born with a silver foot in their mouth or other similar area, it's no surprise that they'd like to keep wages low, because they've never really had to work for a living, they've simply acquired their wealth or had it handed to them, which is why there's a double standard when it comes to manufacturing wages and financial sector wages, and I'm not talking about the teller at the window (which often carries a surcharge as well as that damn ATM). Bruce Raynor at the LA Times today had a nice op-ed about this double standard and he put in some numbers to boot!
When one compares how the auto industry and the financial sector are being treated by Congress, the double standard is staggering. In the financial sector, employee compensation makes up a huge percentage of costs. According to the New York state comptroller, it accounted for more than 60% of 2007 revenues for the seven largest financial firms in New York.
At Goldman Sachs, for example, employee compensation made up 71% of total operating expenses in 2007. In the auto industry, by contrast, autoworker compensation makes up less than 10% of the cost of manufacturing a car. Hundreds of billions were given to the financial-services industry with barely a question about compensation; the auto bailout, however, was sunk on this issue alone.
Bruce is president of UNITE-HERE and clearly, knows his stuff. What I especially liked about his info is this little ditty:
These concessions go some distance toward leveling the playing field (retiree costs are still a factor for the Big Three). But what the foreign car companies want is to level -- which is to say, wipe out -- the union. They currently discourage their workforce from organizing by paying wages comparable to the Big Three's UAW contracts. In fact, Toyota's per-hour wages are actually above UAW wages.
However, an internal Toyota report, leaked to the Detroit Free Press last year, reveals that the company wants to slash $300 million out of its rising labor costs by 2011. The report indicated that Toyota no longer wants to "tie [itself] so closely to the U.S. auto industry." Instead, the company intends to benchmark the prevailing manufacturing wage in the state in which a plant is located. The Free Press reported that in Kentucky, where the company is headquartered, this wage is $12.64 an hour, according to federal labor statistics, less than half Toyota's $30-an-hour wage.
If the companies, with the support of their senators, can wipe out or greatly weaken the UAW, they will be free to implement their plan.
Now, how do I get my hands on that damn report? Cause I'd like to make a copy of it and the idiotic response of Shelby's staffers about American Axle (just scroll down and see the video yourself) and remind them of what kinds of jobs they SHOULD want in their states. BTW, it's the $30 an hour kind not the $12.64 kind. I know, math just isn't something that Corker or Shelby are really all that strong at, but keeping their heads in their asses seems to be.