One of the biggest things that jumped out in this week’s “gold standard” jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is how American manufacturing suffered from the last half of 2015 to the middle of 2016. If you dial up the handy-dandy map from the Quarterly Census on Wages and Employment and look at manufacturing employment, you’ll see that the overwhelming majority of states in the Northeast, Midwest, and Great Plains lost jobs in manufacturing between June 2015 and June 2016.
But let’s also remember that right-to-work (for-less) was signed into law in Wisconsin in March 2015, with Governor Walker and his fellow Koch/ALEC hacks promising that it would “free up” manufacturing jobs, and “worker freedom” would allow for a better quality of life for workers. So given that right-to-work (for less) was in place for this time period, let’s take a look and see how that theory worked out, shall we?
Manufacturing Job change, Jun 2015-Jun 2016
Wisconsin -2,735 (-0.6%)
Waukesha Co. -1,405 (-3.2%)
Racine County -550 (-2.9%)
Manitowoc Co. -464 (-4.7%)
Jefferson Co. -437 (-4.8%)
Milwaukee Co. -303 (-0.6%)
Change in Avg. Weekly Manuf. Wage Jun 2015-Jun 2016
Wisconsin +$6 (+0.6%)
Douglas County -$157 (-13.7%)
Washington Co. -131 (-11.5%)
Buffalo County -$90 (-13.4%)
Pepin County -$76 (-10.1%)
Ashland County -$69 (-7.6%)
Vernon County -$65 (-8.2%)
Guess that work-for-less thing wasn’t a cure-all (or a cure-anything), now was it?
And not only is work-for-less not a success in adding jobs, but it helps to allow Wisconsin manufacturers to continue to pay workers less than our Midwestern neighbors, and fail to give the raises that the states around us are.
Avg. Weekly Manuf. Wage, June 2016
Ill. $1,222 (+3.4%)
Mich $1,210 (+3.0%)
Minn $1,164 (+3.6%)
Ohio $1,089 (+2.4%)
Ind. $1,087 (-1.3%)
Wis. $1,027 (+0.6%)
Iowa $1,025 (+0.6%)
Oh, but Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and other corporate oligarchs claim there’s a “skills gap” or “geography gap” and imply that it’s the workers’ fault for not being good enough to hire in their community. Maybe that’s because YOU FUCKHEADS ARE NOT PAYING MARKET VALUE, and people are moving to places where they can get paid what they’re really worth. So maybe we need to stop allowing the regressive dimwits in the Wisconsin business community to run our state’s industrial and economic policy, and return a voice to the actual people who create these widgets- the workers.
Instead the people in many of these counties that saw manufacturing suffer over the last year decided to return the same Republican state legislators that voted for the policies that helped cause this mess, while turning around and voting for Trump to “change it and fix it” in DC. While I agree that President Obama and corporatist DNC hacks saying “TPP is a good thing” and Dems saying “we’re going to continue our direction” wasn’t a way to connect with the real problems that were afflicting people here in the Midwest, maybe a lot of the fault lies in the Koch/ALEC-GOPs that are running the state into the ground here.
And maybe the workers and voters in those communities “represented” by those Koch/ALEC-GOPs need to hold those fuckers accountable too, instead of only taking it out on the Black Man in the White House and “That Nasty Woman.”