Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

One Reason Why I Hate Unions

Douglas Feiden of the New York Daily News has an article on the outrageous salaries of members of the International Longshoremen's Association. The tales of union bosses with multiple posts and thus multiple salaries are amazing, but what really interests me is how overpaid the rank-and-file is:

A longshoreman with full seniority averages $80,479 a year; overtime can ratchet it up to $136,000.

I normally don't care how much companies pay their employees - except when wage levels are due to uncompetitive and coercive practices. If we had truly competitive labor markets, modern labor unions wouldn't exist, at least not in their current form. ILA would be forced to revamp its salary grades to match the market rate. You could appear on a network TV episode without being forced to join the Screen Actors Guild.

Speaking of longshoremen...the other day Rush Limbaugh joked about giving control of the ports back to the Mafia, in the wake of the current hoopla over a United Arab Emirates company operating a number of loading docks at several major ports. What kind of difference would that make?

[John] Bowers has been president of the ILA since 1987, having previously served for 24 years as executive vice president of the union, its second highest position. He was charged with racketeering and named as an associate of the Gambino organized crime family in a July 2005 civil complaint filed by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn. Whatever objections the politicians have to the UAE and its leadership - and we are not, by any stretch, fans of the emirates - they're no more serious than the charges in the racketeering suit brought against the ILA and Mr. Bowers by the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Roslynn Mauskopf.

Thanks to reader Chance for the link.

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