Thursday, January 6, 2005

Union, yes!

And this is something coming from me. Much as I'm all for worker's rights, I've always had a problem with unions. My deal comes with the idea of merit compensation and productivity. A byproduct of the collective bargaining agreements is that the unproductive are rewarded for their unproductivity. They receive the same compensation as those who bust their ass every day and it's difficult to get rid of slackers. However, I believe there is a need for unions, especially with the anti-labor environment precipitated by Chimpy Inc. over the last 4 years. It's a fuck the little guy atmosphere and the workers need protection. With that said, Travis makes a great observaton:

[. . .]

But here's the point: when I was traveling last week--or I should say, when I was hanging around the Las Vegas airport bored out of my gills, hoping upon hope that I could one day board a plane--a lot of my fellow-delayees were grousing about the USAir sick out. "What are they trying to do?" they would say, "The airline is going bankrupt. There is no money. And now they are making all of the customers upset and hurting the business more."

"Is the CEO taking a pay cut?" I would ask them.

"Um, I don't know."

"What about the upper management and other executives; are they taking a pay cut?"

"Um I hadn't thought about that."

It was like that.

Under the new contract, the average flight attendant who has been at USAir five years makes $50,606. A ten-year veteran, $71,572. That's a lot, I know.

But how much does the CEO make? Last year: $8,996,026. Yes, that's right. Nine million dollars. Seventy-two dollars a minute, to be exact. It would take that ten-year worker 125 years to make a year of his salary. It would take a minimum wage earner until the year 2842.

[. . .]

Heaven forbid the CEO can't be kept in the style he's accustomed to. Like they said about Tom DeLay in the House Ethics Committee the other day:

. . . "It's a mark of a leader to take a bullet for the team and not for the team to take a bullet for the leader. . .

And my view on the airline industry. We should have let all the majors go bankrupt after 9/11. A bunch of smaller airlines (with a far better business model) would have sprung up, and stepped up, to fill the vacuum. Now, four years later, we would have lower airfares and better-run airlines.

Update: 05:40:

Gypsy at Meanderthal has a related piece:

This is not the first time that America has looked as if it was about to succumb to what might be termed the British temptation. America witnessed a similar widening of the income gap in the Gilded Age. It also witnessed the formation of a British-style ruling class. The robber barons of the late 19th century sent their children to private boarding schools and made sure that they married the daughters of the old elite, preferably from across the Atlantic. Politics fell into the hands of the members of a limited circle—so much so that the Senate was known as the millionaires' club.

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