April 12, 2011

A Union Ratchet

Justin Katz

Yes, a bill is a long way from a law, and this one, which Andrew caught the other day, has only one sponsor, Spenser Dickinson (D, South Kingstown), but it really is quite a suggestion:

When a contractor employing members of a recognized union and providing services for more than twenty (20) hours a week to another person, firm, or corporation is replaced, and a new contractor engaged, the employees of the succeeding contractor will be admitted to membership in the union representing the employees of the prior contractor unless already unionized, as set forth herein.

The bill goes on and on, encompassing every conceivable scenario: not only spanning the completion of one contract to the beginning of another, but also requiring that the full-time employees that a company might hire after having contracted for unionized services immediately become part of the union.

One suspects that Mr. Dickinson's contracting company is a union shop, and although I'd wager we won't see this particular bill become law, it's helpful to have a glimpse, every now and then, of the sorts of goals that shrewder and more subtle political minds have targeted.

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"When anyone decides to do things a different way, they are hereby required to continue doing them the original way."

There' that ought to keep things nice and stable.

Posted by: mangeek at April 12, 2011 2:06 PM

Reading between the lines of Justin's contribution here, it is obvious that he views unions as somehow inherently evil. Perhaps he should be reminded that there are quite a few others with the opposite view. Some of us see Dickinson's proposal as expanding a good thing, i.e. a good idea. It is an arguable assertion either way.

On the other hand, gasoline prices have increased by 11 cents in the face of declining sales. What happened to the law of supply and demand? Rising prices in a declining market - how can this be? Let's speculate on what is before we tackle what might be.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at April 12, 2011 9:54 PM

OTL, the problem here is not unionization but the MANDATE to unionize, whether or not the workers wish to do so.

Posted by: Monique at April 13, 2011 7:12 AM

OldTiredLiberal unions are inherently mediocre.

Btw OldTired if you want to figure out why the price of gas keeps going up look no further than NoBama's monetary printing press in DC. The debt load and the devaluation of the dollar (oil is traded in American currency around the world) under this clown's Presidency is why it's happening. Oh and by the way you ain't seen nothing yet.

Posted by: Tim at April 13, 2011 7:53 AM

OTL, as far as I know, the demand for fuel is pretty constant. Gas prices can and have doubled with only a 1% or so change in overall miles driven.

The stuff is a commodity traded on futures markets, which dramatically raises the price in times of concern, but also virtually guarantees availability. The only alternative to high gas costs that I see is much worse: pulling up to the pump to find out that the station's distributor doesn't even have any gas. So far, the American consumer has shown that they CAN afford $4 gas, it's really a drop in the bucket given the overall average household budget.

As for the reasons WHY Americans drive so much... I point a big finger at policies that encourage home ownership and suburbanization, like the mortgage interest tax credit. Failing urban schools and governments help convince the middle class that cities (where people drive a lot less and live in more efficient ways) are looked at by the typical middle class family as places for the poor, instead of places worth raising families.

And Tim, the 'weak dollar' policies have been in style for much longer than Obama's been in office. G.W. Bush basically used every trick in the book to gas-up the economy and paper-over the structural issues we face.

Posted by: mangeek at April 13, 2011 8:54 AM

So mangeek,
You are saying that the law of supply and demand is inoperative and that the law of grab and gouge has replaced it?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at April 13, 2011 9:05 AM

The higher gas prices are Bush's fault. I'm surprised OTL didn't pull that one out. With all his friends in the oil industry, it's to Bush's benefit to have higher oil prices and higher profits to the oil companies.

It's interesting that gas prices were Bush's fault when he was the president but now that it's Obama in office, the gas prices have nothing to do with the president. Gotta love the consistency. Senility must be setting in.

Posted by: Patrick at April 13, 2011 9:18 AM

Do you realize that you are arguing with yourself?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at April 13, 2011 9:53 AM

"You are saying that the law of supply and demand is inoperative and that the law of grab and gouge has replaced it?"

No, I'm saying that 'supply' has stayed relatively steady, while 'demand' is determined not by you at the tank, but by who is securing the contracts for delivery from the supplier. When things are shaky, people start throwing money at the market to secure delivery of the product, and the price goes up.

I'm all for getting the investment houses out of the energy/agriculture futures, I think the market is healthy enough without them to provide solid delivery. I want to keep the items as commodities though, just restrict who's bidding.

Posted by: mangeek at April 13, 2011 10:14 AM

"Do you realize that you are arguing with yourself?"

Leave it to you to not be able to figure out my point. A little over your head, I guess.

Or maybe I was right with the final point, the dementia and senility is setting in.

Posted by: Patrick at April 13, 2011 11:28 AM

Are you making an argument or simply stating your beliefs? You introduced Bush into the thread, not I. I have never blamed Bush or Obama for gas price increase, and you put the words in my mouth and then argue against them, therefore, you are arguing with yourself.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at April 13, 2011 12:44 PM
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