Mini-Rumination: Who Needs Unions?

Who needs unions?

Consider this brief excerpt from the article “If Labor Dies, What’s Next?” in the latest edition of the magazine The American Prospect.

In cities where nearly all the class-A hotels are unionized, as they are in New York and San Francisco, housekeepers make more than $20 an hour.  In cities where roughly half of such hotels are unionized, such as Los Angeles, their hourly wage is about $15.  In cities where all the hotels are nonunion, such as Phoenix, housekeepers make little more than the minimum wage, if that.

For the sake of discussion, let’s give those Phoenix housekeepers a raise and say they make an even $10 an hour instead of the Arizona minimum wage of $7.65 an hour.  That’s $400 for a forty-hour week, $1600 a month, and $20,800 a year.

Before taxes are withheld.

Easily enough to support an individual, right?

And easily enough to support a family of, say, four, right?

That’s not to say that the New York City housekeepers are exactly living on easy street, either:  twice the Phoenix wage, or $41,600, isn’t exactly going to keep the kids in Cheerios and Hot Pockets and enable them to go to college.

Who needs unions?  Working people need unions.

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