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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

August 29, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Vote: Are unions good or bad?

A Pew Research Center poll last year found that 51 percent of respondents had a favorable view of labor unions. Seattle used to be a big union town, although business ultimately won the famous General Strike of 1919. They are still important here, with the International Association of Machinists, Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (“No Nerds, No Birds”, Teamsters, International Longshore and Warehouse union, Service Employees International Union and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees among others.

Lately, organized labor has been at the forefront of the battle to raise the minimum wage. On the other hand, only only 6.7 percent of the private-sector workforce was unionized in 2013. In the 1950s, it was about 32 percent. That era was also the height of the middle class and saw low inequality.

With Labor Day being a holiday dedicated to organized labor, I’ll risk bringing out the trolls and ask you…


This Week’s Links:

Garment broker is seeing rebirth of local apparel factories | LA Times

U.S. workers kick off Labor Day weekend with some sobering charts | Quartz

Companies are spending less on computers but getting more | Vox

Washington recaptured — not by the British but by the big banks | Simon Johnson

When do we start calling this ‘the Greater Depression’ | Brad DeLong

Morgan Stanley (backed by taxpayers) plans natural gas export plant in new commodities play | Reuters

Amazon is not an e-commerce company | Stratechery

Microsoft leads the way in tax-avoidance innovation | Salon


 

Today’s Econ Haiku:

It’s John L.’s birthday

Natural law, property rights

Made us Locke and load


 

Follow me on Twitter @jontalton


 

Comments | More in Labor unions

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