Do union workers need a RAISE?

posted at 3:41 pm on April 18, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Actually, they just might. Indiana Republican Rep. Todd Rokita reintroduced the Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees Act today. Introduced in the last Congress by Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter and California Republican Tom McClintock, the RAISE Act lifts the “seniority ceiling” on workers’ wages by allowing employers to pay individual workers more — but not less — than the union contract specifies.

Most people know that union contracts establish wage floors, but few realize they also establish wage ceilings. Those wage ceilings are harmful to productivity. Diligent workers receive the same raises as slackers — so what incentive do workers have to be diligent? Employers should at least have the freedom to reward workers for above-average performance when they see fit.

Plus, Heritage Foundation research indicates that the RAISE Act would provide the right kind of stimulus for a slow economy:

Economic research also shows that union members work just as hard to earn raises as non­union workers when unions permit performance-based pay. Some 8.6 million workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements regu­lated by the National Labor Relations Act. If Congress passed the RAISE Act to amend the NLRA, many unionized employers would offer performance pay to inspire hard work. The work­ers at these companies would earn between $2,600 and $4,300 per year more than if Congress left the union wage ceiling in place.

These higher earnings would provide the right type of stimulus to get the economy moving. Work­ers would earn more money by creating wealth through their own hard work, adding tens of billions of dollars to the economy. Their greater productivity would also improve business earnings. Instead of fighting over how to redistribute wealth, the RAISE Act encourages employers and employees to work together to create more wealth and spark economic renewal.

This is the type of policy that President Obama called for when criticizing the executive bonuses paid by AIG: “We believe in the free market, we believe in capitalism, we believe in people getting rich, but we believe in people getting rich based on performance and what they add in terms of value and the products and services that they create.” The RAISE Act enables enterprising workers to be rewarded for their own hard work.

Finally, what’s for the unions to not like? They do exist for the worker, right? Union bosses wouldn’t be all about their own power, would they? Wage ceilings contribute to the power of union bosses because they enable the bosses to take credit for any pay increases employees receive. Merit-based raises and spot bonuses remind employees that they earn their salaries, that their wages actually come from their job-creating employer and leave employees feeling a little less beholden to the union. Union opposition to an act like RAISE would be the most blatant expression of union leaders’ true priorities yet.


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Todd’s a delightfully devious bastard.

BritCarGuy on April 18, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Maybe a raise of their awareness of how they screw our country.

NapaConservative on April 18, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Those wage ceilings are harmful to productivity. Diligent workers receive the same raises as slackers — so what incentive do workers have to be diligent?

That’s exactly the Utopia that the Union Commies want and vote for.

F them.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 18, 2012 at 3:49 PM

“United in surly mediocrity we stand!”

NoDonkey on April 18, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Union bosses wouldn’t be all about their own power, would they?

Why yes, they would. Which is why you’ll never get them to support the RAISE Act.

Dee2008 on April 18, 2012 at 3:50 PM

As a “retired” employee of the old Pacific Bell who was represented by a union, I would observe that no matter how hard one worked or how little one worked, either person was paid exactly the same. There was no incentive, other than personal integrity, to work hard unless one was shooting for a management position.

BubbaCluck on April 18, 2012 at 3:51 PM

The work­ers at these companies would earn between $2,600 and $4,300 per year more than if Congress left the union wage ceiling in place.

That’s alot of dog meat.

BacaDog on April 18, 2012 at 3:51 PM

OT: Dick Clark’s dead at 82.

I always dug that Pyramid game show as a kid.

Doughboy on April 18, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Merit-based raises and incentives go against the grain of unions. The like to employ the “fair share” for everyone, “equally”. It’s all about the control of the money with the union leadership. They must have the funds available to elect their liberal democratic puppets in the statehouses and congress, to maintain their existence.

Rovin on April 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Maybe a raise of their awareness of how they screw our country.

NapaConservative on April 18, 2012 at 3:48 PM

+++ down with unions

Wade on April 18, 2012 at 4:00 PM

OT: Dick Clark’s dead at 82.

I always dug that Pyramid game show as a kid.

Doughboy on April 18, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Not to be dating myself, but I used to watch Dick hosting American Bandstand……live. RIP Mr. Clark…..

Rovin on April 18, 2012 at 4:04 PM

HELL YES they do and a cutback on minutes worked per day. They deserve it.

jukin3 on April 18, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Make sure they get more paid break time too! Oh, and more free healthcare.

search4truth on April 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM

You can bet that if this passes or as a requirement the unions will demand a added union due based on the bonus amount.

Got supplemental dues?

plutorocks on April 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM

If they raise the cieling to reward those who deserve a raise…they should open the floor to send the slackers a message….or… NO!

KOOLAID2 on April 18, 2012 at 4:12 PM

No the unions do not need a raise. Even with the cap removed they won’t work harder except once a year when writing their review responses to make sure they get the largest raise possible.

Are they actually underpaid? Can they actually get laid off? What sort of medical benefits do they have?

dogsoldier on April 18, 2012 at 4:12 PM

“Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (RAISE) Act” — regardless of what the union thugs think of this bill, they have to admit it’s a pretty clever acronym.

KS Rex on April 18, 2012 at 4:13 PM

I’ve always thought that union workers deserved a Broadened Open Opportunity Training Identifying New Techniques Helping Everyone And Substantial Savings.

TugboatPhil on April 18, 2012 at 4:15 PM

“California Republican Tom McClintock”

I remember when Tom was running for Governor of CA against Arrrrnold after the Gray Davis recall…

… A truly good and decent man who had the right plan to right the ship of State, but the political elite ruling class couldn’t have any of THAT.

Now we are Alta California run by the Democrats and the Unions, who’s populace’s loyalty is to Mexico, but they have their hands out to the U.S. taxpayer…

… If the media starts to go after the RAISE act and it’s authors, you know it is the right thing to do.

Seven Percent Solution on April 18, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Yes,

the obvious quality and superior work product of the average AFSCME or SEIU worker certainly warrants more pay/benefits/PTO than private sector workers. It’s criminal they only make 30% more in pay and 100% more in pension benefits than the average private sector worker.

acyl72 on April 18, 2012 at 4:17 PM

I like this. Pass it, and the Republicans look good. Defeat it, and the union-fellating Democrats, as well as those lovely union bosses, look bad. Yes, yes…I like this.

Dopenstrange on April 18, 2012 at 4:18 PM

NO union workers don’t need a raise, in fact WE don’t need unions, Period!
L

letget on April 18, 2012 at 4:20 PM

So if one employee pulls weeds faster than the other I can pay them an extra buck or two over the $83.92 and hour they are already making? Great!

This is going to happen about as fast as the locals give up overtime pay after working only 7 hours.

CTSherman on April 18, 2012 at 4:21 PM

While it is a clever idea – it actually will likely backfire if passed.

The reason? Right now one of the main arguments employers have against unionization is that the productive workers will be harmed because the employer will no longer be able to reward hard work, instead everything rests entirely on seniority.

Now, if you are (or believe you are) a good worker, that is a good argument. But, what if this passes? Then, the union can say to the good worker – hey, we’ll set a high floor for wages and get you big benefits, and make it hard for the employer can’t punish the bad workers (who, after all, are often the good workers friends), but you will still be able to be rewarded above that for your good work!

So, unions will still be harming employers by raising costs and keeping lousy employees employed – but now the main argument for not unionizing is taken away.

Monkeytoe on April 18, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I remember when Tom was running for Governor of CA against Arrrrnold after the Gray Davis recall…

… A truly good and decent man who had the right plan to right the ship of State, but the political elite ruling class couldn’t have any of THAT.

Now we are Alta California run by the Democrats and the Unions, who’s populace’s loyalty is to Mexico, but they have their hands out to the U.S. taxpayer…

… If the media starts to go after the RAISE act and it’s authors, you know it is the right thing to do.

Seven Percent Solution on April 18, 2012 at 4:16 PM

I remember having the argument over and over again with people that it was better to keep Davis in office than elect Schwartzenegger as a republican governor. Anyone with common sense knew Arnold would shift left and give CA dems cover for their disastrous policies. This was one of the first times where I actually believed that an electoral defeat was better (long term) than a victory if we weren’t going to go with a solid conservative like McClintock. I’ve actually had the same thoughts regarding Romney. I’ve come around to believing that electing Romney will be marginally better long-term than not defeating Obama. But only just.

Monkeytoe on April 18, 2012 at 4:25 PM

PS: I detest unions, and no, I don’t think union members deserve more pay and more benefits; I just like the concept of it kind of being a lose-lose for the bums who run them and the Dems that get re-elected with the help of all those union dues that are collected (voluntarily, of course… /////////)
Also, I’d bet that this was introduced knowing that it won’t pass.

Dopenstrange on April 18, 2012 at 4:28 PM

Monkeytoe on April 18, 2012 at 4:25 PM

And, a caveat to that – the more Romney moves toward an immigration amnesty, which he appears to be doing – the more I am likely to go back to believing that Romney will be worse for the country long-term. I was just coming around and he has started raising balloons for an amnesty.

How these people believe that will actually win Hispanic votes is beyond me. If we promise some kind of limited amnesty, Obama is going to promise a 100% amnesty. Don’t these people have common sense? We will not increase the Hispanic GOP vote by much, if at all, with this appeasement. And, it is terrible, terrible policy for the U.S.

Monkeytoe on April 18, 2012 at 4:31 PM

I’ve always thought that union workers deserved a Broadened Open Opportunity Training Identifying New Techniques Helping Everyone And Substantial Savings.

TugboatPhil on April 18, 2012 at 4:15 PM

*applause*

DOOF on April 18, 2012 at 4:38 PM

There are two ways to get paid more money, either:
A) Do a better job than your competitors, or
B) Break your competitors’ kneecaps.

The only reason unions exist is to keep option A off the table.

logis on April 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

From the dictionary of REAL Americans:

union = 1. A collection of people headed by goons and thugs organized to extort the maximum possible wages, benefits and pensions for doing the minimum possible amount of actual work. 2. A subsidiary of the lunatic-left d-cRAT socialist party that provides hundreds of millions of dollars in mandatory union dues as campaign contributions in payback for the billions of dollars of taxpayer money the d-cRAT socialists funnel to the unions. 3. An entity designed to make any company non-competitive and any state, city or local municipality bankrupt. 4. A collection of people controlled by goons and thugs that are focused on voter intimidation, unless the voter votes for the d-cRAT socialist party. 5. A tool of the d-cRAT socialist party to implement its anti-democracy ideology by preventing workers from having a secret ballot as to whether they want to join a union, and instead subjecting them to what is called “card check” that allows union leader goons and thugs to harass, intimidate and threaten workers to join their union. 6. The d-cRAT socialist party’s version of the Third Reich’s SchutzStaffel (SS) used to violently attack anybody who opposes the will of the unions or the party, as seen in their actions in Wisconsin and elsewhere where there are efforts at fiscal reform, rational governing and support for taxpayers. 7. The current d-cRAT socialist form of SLAVERY in which each person MUST pay dues to their union maters, they MUST be subject to the rules of their union masters and they MUST obey all orders and decrees from their union masters even if they don’t want anything to do with the union. 8. The embodiment of the grand lie / myth of communism that workers are in “paradise” when in collectives (REALTY clearly proves that the only “Workers’ Paradise” is a “Right-to-Work” state).

TeaPartyNation on April 18, 2012 at 4:56 PM

How does Bishop feel about this?………
KOOLAID2
no I never sleep………

angrymike on April 18, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Our society, as run by our betters, does not want to recognize achievers. I see that in my grandkids PE, in which they team up the best runner with the worst and give both the average of the two times.
Coincidentally, Rush commented today on an aspect of this.

GaltBlvnAtty on April 18, 2012 at 5:10 PM

I think that I’m done with HA, at least until after the election. HA threads seem to be overly dominated now by angry, rude posters who don’t seem very interested in having a civil conversation about how to advance conservative causes and principles. Too many of the conversations on HA have devolved into a cesspool of sniping by name-callers and back-biters who are either liberal/progressive trolls masquerading as conservatives or conservatives who have decided to become like the enemies of conservatism. When I first began reading and posting on HA a few years ago, I actually enjoyed being here. I don’t anymore. Maybe the moderators need to reconsider what they think a “conservative blog” should actually be and limit participants to those who a capable of carrying on a dialog that is worthy of the conservative brand. As it stands now, too many posters on HA are looking more and more like the DailyKos crowd.

NuclearPhysicist on April 18, 2012 at 5:18 PM

NuclearPhysicist on April 18, 2012 at 5:18 PM

I agree with your take on what has happened here, and it has caused me to read the threads much less often.

GaltBlvnAtty on April 18, 2012 at 5:34 PM

I do agree that removing a wage ceiling and allowing incentive pay is a good idea.

I disagree that government employees create wealth. Government consumes wealth.

Government activities such as law enforcement, building and maintaining the infrastructure, and minimal regulation of commerce (requiring a level playing field) and education spending allow the private sector to create wealth.

Government cannot create wealth in and of itself.

The Rock on April 18, 2012 at 5:43 PM

No fair!
Slackers of the World, Unite!

mrt721 on April 18, 2012 at 5:46 PM

NuclearPhysicist on April 18, 2012 at 5:18 PM

You gonna complain on every thread today?

Dominion on April 18, 2012 at 5:49 PM

In construction you can pay more or a bonus. I have never heard of a ceiling. Lowering the floor and paying on production seems like a good deal for those who wish to excel. Right now if you are a good worker you become a shop guy and the reward is never going back to the hall.

BullShooterAsInElk on April 18, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Who’s going to explain to them there’s significant conflict between what they think they’re entitled to and what America actually is?

Speakup on April 18, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Careful, there. Employers in Indiana might start rewarding initiative, and union workers might start … showing it.

Everyone in my family has worked with unionized labor at some point, and the verdict is unanimous: union workers tend to live down to the carefully defined job descriptions they are assigned to.

Those who would like to show more initiative have to be very careful not to get caught (and often just give up and leave). Why? Because it’s anti-union and a betrayal of your fellow workers to work harder than the standard. It suggests that someone might voluntarily do it — as opposed to the union line, which is that being “made” to work harder than the standard constitutes abuse.

Decision-making is equally discouraged — union supervisors have to be applied to for what seem to be the most minor decisions — and promotion is tied to seniority (as are bennies like overtime opportunities).

I doubt the RAISE Act will change much, as national unions will pressure the companies to refrain from taking advantage of it. The proposed law tries to make a marginal change that can’t stand on its own. But it’s a positive thing that it has gotten traction.

J.E. Dyer on April 18, 2012 at 9:08 PM

I too detest unions – and I’m a union member!

I had to join to get the job I have now, and I view the union contract as a LIMIT on how much I can make.

The bulk of my background has been in the private sector, so I’m accustomed to “pay for performance” and working like my job depended on it, which is a foreign notion to many. Some of the union people that I work with are totally devoted to sloth, and that’s compound lazy situation since they are also state government workers.

I work daily, at a fever pace (I’m in the computer/IT/network end of things), while just one or two desks away sit people that are paid to loaf, socialize & gab, read the paper, do crossword puzzles, etc for 50% to 85% of the day, while I work my ballz off.

I set my own pace, and I’m a go-to guy when there is a serious problem and/or something needs to be done right – yes, I’m very good at what I do as I support mission-critical core business servers and network components. I’m severely overworked, as are a few other key people in our shop.

I’ve approached management about having some of these loafers at least do some project-oriented stuff (not much technical, just coordinate resources, set schedules, etc.) that would help me out, but I get no help from management because they are reluctant to deal with them.

When the managers ask these highly-paid fully-qualified mirror foggers to do anything that they aren’t used to doing, or don’t care to do, they run and file a grievance with the union… the managers get tired of fighting these people and the union, so they just let them “float” through the day mostly unmolested.

I’ve been told that our headcount doesn’t permit anyone else to be hired, so I’m pretty much screwed.

—–
Back to the topic: I’m not really in favor of the proposal suggested because the citizens of my state are already paying these lazy sods top dollar, why should the citizens have to pay more to (comparatively) properly compensate me? Someone needs to clean house!!

My hope is that they’ll make my state a “right to work state”, and contributions to the unions will become voluntary, and massively drop and (maybe) the union will dry up and blow away.

Just now looking at my W2… I paid $1137 of union dues in 2011 for the privilege of watching the union contribute my money to politicians and a political party that I totally disagree with.

Sorry for the rant.

E-R

electric-rascal on April 18, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Everyone in my family has worked with unionized labor at some point, and the verdict is unanimous: union workers tend to live down to the carefully defined job descriptions they are assigned to.

J.E. Dyer on April 18, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Yeah, it’s really a hoot for some union people that are in IT, where change is a constant. These types want everything to remain the same!

Another frequent refrain is “I’m not trained to do that!” – pfffft, 95% of what I do very successfully I’ve never been formally trained on.

E-R

electric-rascal on April 18, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Yeah, it’s really a hoot for some union people that are in IT, where change is a constant. These types want everything to remain the same!

Another frequent refrain is “I’m not trained to do that!” – pfffft, 95% of what I do very successfully I’ve never been formally trained on.

E-R

electric-rascal on April 18, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Amen. My brother is an electrical engineer who worked for a major international IT company for about three years. He left when he saw that they were losing contract after contract to overseas companies that didn’t have to ask the unions’ permission to adjust to the changing industry. The plant where he worked closed down about 6 months later, and the company was sold off in parts to avoid a bankruptcy proceeding.

His opinion was that the work the plant was doing could have been done by about half the employees, and that probably three-quarters of that number would have been worth more than they were paid as union workers, if they had been allowed to get in and kick tail the way they were capable of.

J.E. Dyer on April 18, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Everyone in my family has worked with unionized labor at some point, and the verdict is unanimous: union workers tend to live down to the carefully defined job descriptions they are assigned to.

J.E. Dyer on April 18, 2012 at 9:08 PM

On the other hand, the employer is limited as to what they will do for their employees. If I want more services from a company I’m doing business with, I expect to pay extra for those services. So then why wouldn’t an employee expect more for their services beyond the norm?

Either you work for someone with a contract, or you work for yourself. They’re actually the same thing when you get down to it.

The problem with many unions is that the unionized employee has to answer to two masters, and both are tying to squeeze as much as possible out of them and give a minimum in return.

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 18, 2012 at 11:09 PM

How about Congress not get involved in setting wages or compensation between a private employer and its employees at all? *That* would be the bill I would support.

GWB on April 19, 2012 at 10:30 AM

On the other hand, the employer is limited as to what they will do for their employees. If I want more services from a company I’m doing business with, I expect to pay extra for those services. So then why wouldn’t an employee expect more for their services beyond the norm?

Either you work for someone with a contract, or you work for yourself. They’re actually the same thing when you get down to it.

The problem with many unions is that the unionized employee has to answer to two masters, and both are tying to squeeze as much as possible out of them and give a minimum in return.

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 18, 2012 at 11:09 PM

You have just beautifully stated the negative, triangulating union position.

In a non-union environment, those who give more to the job — and accomplish more – do get greater rewards. Your question has its answer in the common dynamic between the employer and his best employees.

Employers are anxious to keep the most productive employees, and they increase salaries, pay bonuses, and groom people for promotion based on initiative and performance — when they have the option to.

The view of employers as always trying to gouge the most work for the least pay out of employees is the pessimism pig dressed up in the cheap cosmetics of Marxism. It is predicated on a static work environment in which it may, for five minutes, be possible to define a “normal” amount of work. But seeking that definition is itself the beginning of sclerosis, and a business and its workplaces will, inevitably, become non-competitive if they give rule over their activities to a definition of “normal.”

There is a gigantic space between “normal” and “worker abuse,” and that space is where all ingenuity, initiative, success, progress, enjoyment, expansion, profit, and the realization of dreams come about. None of those are possible with a rigidly defined, rigidly enforced “normal.” You can focus on not wanting to do one minute’s worth of “extra” work without guarantees, or you can take a risk and change your life, and very possible the world. You can’t have both. The effect of unions is to enforce the former pattern.

J.E. Dyer on April 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM

How about Congress not get involved in setting wages or compensation between a private employer and its employees at all? *That* would be the bill I would support.

GWB on April 19, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Amen. And not just Congress, but the Indiana legislature as well.

J.E. Dyer on April 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM