An Attack on Workers’ Rights

Hypocritically, it’s by the Progressive-Democratic Party, which runs Michigan’s government. That’s the party that claims to champion the rights of America’s workers.

[State] Senate Democrats voted along party lines in support of repealing the decade-old “right-to-work” law in a state long considered a pillar of organized labor.

The State’s House already had passed a substantially similar bill, now the two go to conference to reconcile the differences, then the result will be voted up in both houses and sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) to be signed into law.

Free Market or Pro-Working Class?

That’s the question posed regarding the future of the Republican Party in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal Saturday Essay.

The headline and subheadline combine to posit a false dichotomy, though.

Can the GOP Become a Real Working-Class Party?
Some Republicans want the party to break from its longtime free-market agenda and focus instead on the needs and frustrations of workers. Others see danger in moving away from the legacy of Reagan.

It isn’t possible to be pro-working class without being also being pro-free market. It’s the free market that generates the prosperity, flexibility of business decision-making, and breadth of worker and potential worker choice that produce the most benefit for workers.

Yes, and No

Company employees are getting pay raises just for staying on the job rather than moving on to other endeavors.

Wages for workers who stayed at their jobs were up 5.5% in November from a year earlier, averaged over 12 months, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. That was up from 3.7% annual growth in January 2022 and the highest increase in 25 years of record-keeping.

It’s also the case that new hires are getting bigger signing bonuses, initial salaries, and more perks for joining the company.

However, this claim by The Wall Street Journal (at the link above) is mostly backwards in the present environment:

Federal Workers Working Remote

I agree with the concept, sort of.

The Federal Government Initiative, an NGO government watchdog, has noticed that current federal telework practices, implemented during the Wuhan Virus situation, are associated with a dramatic reduction in paid leave used by the federal workforce. The FGI has expressed misgivings.

Before the federal government engages in expanded telework in perpetuity, its impact should be investigated more fully by agency Inspectors General, Congress, and other oversight entities[.]

I agree that many—most, in fact—nearly all—Federal workers should be allowed to work remotely, and in perpetuity. Remotely, mind you, not via telework.

Fiddling While….

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg seems to be a modern day fiddler. During the…negotiations…with rail unions just concluded, Buttigieg chose to go haring off to Portugal on vacation. He also appears to have told no one of the public he was heading out: previously undisclosed trip, according to the Washington Free Beacon as cited by Fox News.

“The secretary took a long-planned personal trip from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5,” a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation told Fox News. “As usual, while traveling on personal time he remained available and engaged on urgent issues, which in this case meant multiple calls with staff and stakeholders to work on the topic of rail labor negotiations.”

In Which Rubio is Mistaken

The Senate passed a bill mandating a labor agreement agreed by railroad companies, management teams of a dozen rail unions, and the rank-and-file of most of those unions be imposed on all of those unions and railroad companies. The bill also barred a rail union strike.

In a separate vote, the Senate failed to pass a bill imposing a number of paid sick leave days for union employees on the rail companies.

Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL) is dismayed.

When workers are treated as little more than line items on a spreadsheet, they become indistinguishable from the freight cars they service….

He Can’t Be Serious

Can he?

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a speech last Wednesday that the overheated labor market needs to cool more for the Fed to be confident inflation could decrease toward its 2% goal. He said the biggest remaining barrier to taming inflation is a worker shortage, which is driving up wages and, in turn, the cost of goods and services.
“The labor market … shows only tentative signs of rebalancing, and wage growth remains well above levels that would be consistent with 2% inflation,” Powell said. “We want wages to go up strongly, but they’ve got to go up at a level that is consistent with 2% inflation over time.”

But What is the Or Else?

President Joe Biden (D) is right, this time, and so are Congressional politicians (assuming they actually can get anything done on this), to move to block the coming railroad strike.

But. But, but, but.

What is the or else here? What enforcement mechanism can the government use to enforce its no-strike diktat against the railroad workers? Not against the unions, but against the rail workers?

It isn’t union leadership, after all, who have rejected the just-negotiated agreements, it’s the rank-and-file, the folks who actually do the work, who’ve rejected the agreement.


Progressive-Democratic President Joe Biden claims he’s worried about anti-democratic forces in play in today’s American politics.

We must vote knowing who we have been and what we’re at risk of becoming. We must vote knowing what’s at stake and not just the policy of the moment—but institutions that have held us together, as we’ve sought a more perfect union, are also at stake.

Here’s one of those democratic institutions that’s at risk even after the just-completed elections—from Biden and his National Labor Relations Board:

[The] National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced it would start the process rescind a 2020 rule implemented to protect workers’ right to vote on removing union representation.


Congresswoman Katie Porter (D, CA) is on Leave Without Pay from her job teaching law at the University of California, Irvine, and has been for the last four years while she serves in Congress. The concept isn’t particularly unusual; what draws attention is that the normal California (or at least UC Irvine) LWOP period is two years, and the school has just approved (after the fact) extending Porter’s status for the period January 2021 through December 2022.

What drew my attention, though, is the rationalization used by the UCI Dean, L Song Richardson, in arguing successfully for the decision to extend Porter’s status, especially after a senior Academic Personnel analyst at UCI had formally recommended against the extension.