Thursday, May 06, 2004

Now that John Kerry is finally going to roll out ads explaining his policies, jobs are bound to be on the agenda. He has a list of priorities that include raising the mininum wage and pegging it to inflation, giving a tax credit for college tuition, enforcing fair trade laws, and enacting various tax proposals meant to make outsourcing less attractive. His policy analysts might do well to take a look at "Outsmarting Outsourcing" in American Prospect Online. Here's a sample of what it has to offer:

Enforcement of the Wagner Act, which allows American workers a free choice to vote in a union, has become a joke. Employers find it cheaper to fire pro-union workers, hire fancy law firms to conduct union-busting campaigns, and pay the very infrequent fine.

One happy exception speaks volumes -- the successful struggle by the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees to turn Las Vegas into a union town. Today, the most humble workers in Vegas's hotels -- those who clean the rooms -- are paid middle-class salaries with health benefits and have career opportunities. They are becoming homeowners and starting to live the American dream. The higher labor costs are a drop in the casino bucket.

After all, no inherent economic logic required semi-skilled factory workers to earn middle-class wages.

Strong enforcement of the Wagner Act might inspire a lot more of that Las Vegas Hotel Workers' spirit. Click here to read the rest of the article.


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