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Minimum Wage – It’s All About Perception!

Recently, the “Fight for Fifteen” demonstrations at McDonald’s and Wal-Mart stores across the country have sparked empathy in the news coverage by the main stream media. The liberal coverage of these outlets portrays employees as being taken advantage of and in need of increased wages and benefits. As with most things in life, it is prudent to do the research to make sure we have all the facts, and that they are presented honestly and concisely. It is imperative we don’t rely on our political leanings and that we not have the proverbial “wool pulled over our eyes.” Every American, should re-check the position or “window” from which they the view things, as succinctly demonstrated in the following.

The Window from Which We Look
A young couple moves into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
”That laundry is not very clean”, she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”
 Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

 Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.


About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a
 nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband,”Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this.”

 The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”



And so it is with life. What we see when watching others it depends on the purity of the window through which we look! 

“Fight for Fifteen” and the so called “Work Centers” that are championing this cause — providing their own version of training and assistance — are nothing more than union fronts where Union Bosses Use Fast-Food Workers For Personal Gain. Unions are pouring millions of dollars into these “Work Centers” as a method of unionizing the fast food workers across America! It is unfortunate and despicable that The SEIU’s Support for Wage Hikes are based on Self Interests and that these Protest Organizers Pay Consulting Fees, however, even more astonishing is that the SEIU has funneled $15 million into the Fight for $15 campaign. This sleight of hand by the SEIU and other unions demands that we check the purity of the window from which we view the true intentions of these unions and this Administration. Even some of the union members are cleaning windows as demonstrated in Union Members Are Getting Tired of the Anti-Walmart Campaigns.

Essentially, these worker centers are union branches. Labor Unions are organized as 501(c)(5) entities, and as 501(c)(5) entities they cannot receive tax-deductible contributions. However, many Worker Centers are organized as 501(c)(3) charities, which means they can receive tax-deductible donations and they are not accountable to the workers they claim to represent.

In other words, they are conduits for labor unions in disguise. They provide the labor unions with benefits which they could not otherwise independently receive. Labor unions are a dying breed, they are nothing more than Gasping Dinosaurs trying to avoid extinction, and the worker centers are proof.

Another benefit to the “Fight for Fifteen” demonstrations is that they serve to Deflect Attention from the Rogue NLRB and its attempt to establish Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation with the new ambush election law, designed by this Administration to allow unions to rapidly force unionize employees and employers across the country, further described in Reprise: Beware the Ambush. It is nothing more than a payback to the union bosses for political contributions and votes.

The bottom line is, while America’s top labor union bosses raked in millions in 2014 for their own pockets and to press their political agendas, it has become apparent that Millennials don’t want to join unions. They are waking up to the fact that Labor Unions’ True Motivation comes from the Dues Money. Union bosses want to line their own pockets and promote their political agendas. Subsequently, union bosses are waking up to Why 78 Million Millennials Are Choosing Non-Union Jobs and are desperate to invent ways to force unionize them in order to survive, which is what the “Fight for Fifteen” is truly all about.

It is time for all Americans to wake up and see big labor’s intentions through a crystal clear window and not through distorted, long held political viewpoints or beliefs. Big labor and its claims are all about perception not reality.

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David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” as well as the just released sequel, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.

Meet "McCashier" Your $15.00 Per Hour McDonald's Worker Replacement

Editor’s Note:  Successful union activism in support of a $15/hour minimum wage will not only reduce the supply of entry level jobs – it will have a disproportionate negative impact on small businesses. Large corporations will invest directly in – or offer their franchisees access to – specialized automation equipment. Small businesses will not have the same access to capital and technology. Stuck paying workers more than they can afford, they will be forced to raise prices and become even less competitive. Yet another example of how unions and ultra large corporations can have overlapping agendas.

Sure. You can make $15 an hour at McDonald’s, at least in Seattle. You just have to perform better than this machine.

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But if you are not more cost effective than that machine, then not only do you not make $15, you do not have a job at all.

That machine is the not so distant replacement for cashiers demanding more and more pay.

Reddit comment says the cashiers at this McDonald’s were replaced by machines.

Comments indicate the store is the company owned McDonald’s Innovation Center at 1253 N Schmidt Rd, Romeoville, IL 60446, United States.

Any readers care to check that out?

Math, Not Counting Benefits

  • For a location open 24 hours: The cost of human cashiers, not counting benefits, $15/hour * 24 hours * 365 days/year = $131,400
  • For a location open 6AM to Midnight:  $15/hour * 18 hours * 365 = $98,550.

For the machine to be cost effective, all it needs to do is cost less than $100,000 a year to buy and maintain.

By the way, it won’t just be McDonald’s that eliminates cashiers. Expect to see machines like that everywhere. Basic cost-accounting math demands that outcome.

About the Author:  Mike Shedlock is the editor of the top-rated global economics blog Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis, offering insightful commentary every day of the week. He is also a contributing “professor” on Minyanville, a community site focused on economic and financial education.

SEIU Shows It Is Not About Employee Free Choice

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), arguably the most ardent proponent of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), continues to demonstrate the hypocrisy of its true motives through its tactics and political machinations. The political maneuvering of the SEIU and its big labor brethren show that they do not have employee best interests at heart, and that their ultimate objective has nothing to do with employee free choice (see SEIU’s Insidious Tentacles). In fact, it’s the SEIU’s continued tactics, such as this past week’s fast food worker strikes that show why it is a Charade and proves once again that big labor’s Only Concern is for Dues.

Unlike past “protests,” the SEIU’s push in Fast Food Forward received little news coverage. Clearly, people around the country are waking up to the SEIU’s schemes and the truth that there are relatively few employees who are embracing its forced unionism scheme. As reported in the articles above, very few employees are participating and the majority of strikers are paid non-employees recruited to make misleading claims and intimidate fast food employers and their employees much like the Death by a Thousand Cuts tactics chronicled in The Devil at Our Doorstep.

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“Death by a Thousand Cuts” is a form of psychological intimidation used by labor unions against employers. Often it involves utilizing supposed employees as pawns in an attempt to force unionize employees who are not interested in what the SEIU has to sell through Card Check. This is labor’s end game in the Fast Food Forward initiative. It is not about helping employees make more money, but rather increasing the SEIU’s membership roles, Despite the representations of big labor and its liberal supporters, the SEIU is not a knight in shining armor, but quite the opposite.

Like most unions in the country, the SEIU continues to experience loss of membership and, consequently, the loss of revenue in the form of membership dues. As a result of these losses, the SEIU and like-minded unions are resorting to the use of Corporate Campaigns against companies (as well as governments agencies and entities) in order to force unionize employees and increase flagging membership. The SEIU recently experienced such a loss as 80 percent of these forced “union members” dropped out of SEIU in Michigan. This tremendous loss of revenue is estimated at $34 Million per year (see SEIU Membership Revenues Plummet After State Ends Underhanded Scheme). Additionally, the SEIU is facing significant loss of membership/revenues in California and other parts of the country, just as the other big labor unions are experiencing similar losses.

In a desperate attempt to offset these losses, the SEIU has continued to turn to and to utilize the same tactics that have proven to be ineffective in the past (see SEIU Deploys Top-Down Organizing Tactics against California Hospitals). The SEIU is attempting to force unionize home health care workers in Illinois as chronicled in SEIU’s Hair on Fire. This despite its previous defeat of similar laws in other states — the state of Michigan, for example, just overturned the same law that allowed forced unionism of home healthcare workers.

Despite these efforts, employees across the nation are waking up to the SEIU’s motives. They are voting with their feet as verified by the lack of employee involvement in the current “Fight for Fifteen” campaign, and by home health care workers dropping out of the SEIU when provided the opportunity in Michigan. You would think the SEIU would learn that if it wants to reverse its fortunes it is going to have to develop a product that employees and employers can buy into instead of using intimidation tactics. Isn’t the definition of “insanity” to repeat the same things over and over again, with the same failed results? Maybe the SEIU should ask the question What Happens When You Give Workers a Choice? While the SEIU would not grow as a fast as it would like in order to achieve its socialistic political agenda, it would truly be serving the employees – which is supposed to be mission of the labor unions. This is not likely and employees will continue to see the SEIU’s “Persuasion of Power” and its reliance on its allies in the white House to press for regulatory means to bail them out of their desperate condition. It’s not good for the employees, but why would Big Labor start caring about them now? What we need in this country is an Employee Rights Act that would make unions accountable to members.

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David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” as well as the just released sequel, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.

Lowering the Cost of Living is Better than Raising the Minimum Wage

Editor’s Note:  This post by Michael Shedlock explains quite well why significantly increasing the minimum wage is a terrible idea. If the union’s new “Fight for Fifteen” (dollars per hour) campaign were successful, it would increase unemployment, and unleash a round of price inflation that would in-turn require government entitlement payments to increase. This is not news to anyone with common sense. But Shedlock makes two additional points worth emphasizing. First, he notes that lowering the cost of living is more useful than raising wages, a point that cannot be made enough, because that is the win-win solution that opponents of government austerity fail to recognize. In addition to raising the standard of living for everyone, regardless of how much or how little they make, lower prices free capital to reduce debt and invest in innovation. “Better-faster-cheaper” is more than the mantra of the Silicon Valley’s tech geniuses, it is a perennial and core factor in the advance of civilization. Second, Shedlock identifies the anti-competitive forces who benefit from statist overreach, of which imposing excessively high minimum wages is just one aspect. He writes: “We do not need higher wages, we need lower prices. With productivity advancements we would have just that, absent of course the socialist fools, the progressives, the war mongers, and the central bankers.”

Michael Tanner at the Cato Institute notes Welfare Pays Better than Work in 33 states.

The federal government funds 126 separate programs targeted towards low-income people, 72 of which provide either cash or in-kind benefits to individuals. (The rest fund community-wide programs for low-income neighborhoods, with no direct benefits to individuals.) State and local governments operate more welfare programs.Of course, no individual or family gets benefits from all 72 programs, but many do get aid from a number of them at any point in time.

In the Empire State, a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth $38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation.

Welfare is slightly more generous in Connecticut, where benefits are worth $38,761; a person leaving welfare for work would have to earn $21.33 per hour to be better off. And in New Jersey, a worker would have to make $20.89 to beat welfare.

Nationwide, our study found that the wage-equivalent value of benefits for a mother and two children ranged from a high of $60,590 in Hawaii to a low of $11,150 in Idaho. In 33 states and the District of Columbia, welfare pays more than an $8-an-hour job. In 12 states and DC, the welfare package is more generous than a $15-an-hour job.

People Aren’t That Stupid

While it’s beneficial to have a job, assuming there is hope of advancement, for those with no special skills there is little to no hope of advancement.

Moreover, wages are taxed, welfare benefits are not. And what about day-care costs for single mothers? What about transportation costs? What about the value of extra leisure time?

Add it all up and it makes perfect sense for many to remain on welfare for as long as they can.

Minimum Wage Fallacy

Given welfare benefits exceed minimum wage, it should not be surprising to find socialists arguing for higher minimum wages. And they are.

In Seattle, a Campaign Seeks to Push Minimum Wage to $15.

How successful would that be?

Not very.

The higher the minimum wage, the more incentive businesses have to get rid of employees and use hardware and software robots. And with the Fed suppressing interest rates, companies can borrow with miniscule interest rates and do just that.

Should minimum wages rise, the recipient workers would benefit, but at the expense of millions of others who would lose a job or not get one.

Then when prices rose in response, the socialists would ask for increased welfare benefits to keep up with the rising cost of living!

More Minimum Wage Nonsense

The socialists are out in force. Heidi Moore on the Guardian writes How low can you get: the minimum wage scam.

 Wonder why benefit spending is rising? Simple: corporations get away with crappy wages, so government has to make up the rest.

The grim irony of minimum-wage America is that many who work in the fast-food industry need food stamps to get by.

You’d think the exceptionally low minimum-wage – $7.25 an hour – would be the shame of a country like the United States that prides itself on its economic leadership. Half of minimum-wage jobs are held by adults over 25 years old, and asking adults to live on $7.25, or $14,500 a year, doesn’t leave them with enough to rent an apartment, commute to work, raise a child and participate in society in any meaningful way.

No Heidi, the sad state of affairs is that socialist fools have no idea what is going on. As Michael Tanner at the Cato Institute points out, it does not pay to work. So people don’t.

Don’t blame low wages, blame high prices.

The Fed, the ECB, the Bank of England, and the central bank in China are all printing money hand over fist hoping to spur job growth. Instead, they fueled another stock market bubble, a bond market bubble, and revived the property bubble.

Congress enacted hundreds of affordable housing programs. The one and only thing those programs did was create a housing bubble.

When prices crashed, government and the Fed stepped in with attempts to reblow the housing bubble (proving of course no one really wanted affordable housing in the first place). Rather, the Fed wanted a stock-market party and Congress wanted a vote-buying party).

Is Low Minimum Wage the Problem?

Perceived low wages are a symptom of the problem, not the problem.

The problem is socialist fools, progressives, and war mongers sloshing other peoples’ money around. For that, place the blame where it precisely belongs: on central bankers, on fractional reserve lending, and on government bureaucrats who interfere in the free market.

We do not need higher wages, we need lower prices. With productivity advancements we would have just that, absent of course the socialist fools, the progressives, the war mongers, and the central bankers.

About the Author:  Mike Shedlock is the editor of the top-rated global economics blog Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis, offering insightful commentary every day of the week. He is also a contributing “professor” on Minyanville, a community site focused on economic and financial education. Every Thursday he does a podcast on HoweStreet and on an ad hoc basis he contributes to many other websites, including UnionWatch.

Unions Adopting New Strategies to Rebuild Membership

Big Labor bosses are facing the increasing realization that their organizations are rapidly facing extinction. A trifecta of difficulties, consisting of recent revelations of the impact Obamacare will have on union costs and membership, the weakening of support for “Card Check” legislation, and the increasing popularity and passage of “Right-to-Work” laws have the Gasping Dinosaurs very nervous. Union membership is at a 50-year low, representing a mere 11.3% of the total workforce and 6.7% of the private workforce. These statistics have Big Labor bosses fighting mad at the lack of return from their campaign investments for the President and desperate enough to attempt any and all options to rebuild declining membership.

With the exception of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents healthcare workers across the country and anticipates membership gains from the implementation of Obamacare, Big Labor bosses representing other unions now realize that their once-beloved President has sold them down the river (see The Devil is in the Details: Buyer’s Remorse over Obamacare, Except for SEIU).  The heads of the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, and other major labor unions are now realizing that not only is Obamacare void of separate exemptions or favorable provisions for unions, but it places unions at an economic disadvantage when organizing new members. In fact, it is so bad that the Teamsters are Begging Congress for Relief from Obamacare and the Laborers International Union Fears Destructive Consequences from Obamacare. Even the President-friendly IRS Employees Union Members are in an Uproar after realizing that they too will be subject to Obamacare. The President may continue his rhetoric to intimidate Republicans and to push for Obamacare to become functional, but he does so at the risk of losing his most ardent supporters.

The next likely disappointment for the unions is that the President has failed to enact Card Check. Despite that the President’s recent radical appointees to the NLRB were approved by the U.S. Senate and the fact that President Obama Brought in Griffin to Fill Vacant NLRB Position, the Rogue NLRB still faces an uphill battle if they plan to achieve card check.  See “Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation.”  President Obama previously attempted to achieve card check like provisions through his appointment of board members such as Craig Becker and Richard Griffin.  With the courts finding the President’s recess appointments to be unconstitutional, and thus their decisions invalidated, a delay in “union handouts” has resulted in further union membership deterioration and caused the Unions to Demand Payback.

Interestingly, this has resulted in an attempt by Big Labor to enforce desperate and creative measures to increase membership. The AFL-CIO Seeks Answers in Crisis by targeting Hispanics, NAACP, Sierra Club and other groups, and by Winning Back Other Unions into their fold, thereby increasing membership, revenues and power.  Not to be outdone, the Desperate SEIU Resurrected the Persuasion of Power and is leading the charge by attempting to organize Home Health Care Workers and immigrants as discussed in the recent blog The Senate Immigration Law Hurts All Americans.  Additionally, a new Worker Center Scheme crafted by the SEIU is in the works, utilizing organizations outside the auspices of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to attract and organize prospective members, which could be devastating to businesses attacked by these type organizations.

Meanwhile, the SEIU has once again embraced the Living Wage Argument to unionize workers. This tactic, described in The Devil at Our Doorstep, is now being used against McDonalds and other service/food providers under the veil of the “Fight for Fifteen” campaign, fighting to shift wage rates to $15 an hour for these workers.  McDonald’s is now feeling pressure from the typical Corporate Campaign tactics, including threats to Contaminate Food. These threats will directly impact McDonald’s revenues, a standard focal point of the SEIU’s campaigns.  Of course, all of their actions are being pushed in the name of Social Justice.

David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” as well as the just released sequel, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.