Saturday, April 9, 2016

Work-for-less didnt help economy, now is illegal. Put it away!

While it is likely that the paid-off WMC judges on the State Supreme Court will re-instate the law, allowing it to be appealed to the Feds, let's take a look at what's happened to Wisconsin's economy since (right-to) work-for-less went through the Legislature in February of last year.

First, let's start with manufacturing employment, since work-for-less supporters claim the lack of union bargaining power will encourage them to expand business and hire more people. Hasn't really worked out that way in Wisconsin. In fact, Wisconsin manufacturers were hiring plenty of workers in the year before (right-to) work-for-less took effect, and in the year it has been in effect, those gains have been partly eroded.

Manufacturing employment, Wisconsin
Feb 2014 460,900
Feb 2015 469,100 (+8,200)
Feb 2016 469,000 (-1,000)

Now some of this reflects the slowdown in manufacturing that has occurred in the last year throughout the country, as overall manufacturing employment has gone down by 24,000 since February 2015, and it's especially gotten bad since last Summer, with 45,000 jobs being shed in that sector since July. Wisconsin has been a notable part of that job loss in manufacturing, shedding 2,400 jobs in the first two months of 2016 (and more likely to follow when March's report comes out next week). If you wonder why Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump keep hitting at unrestricted trade as an issue? This definitely plays into it.

But Wisconsin's job losses in that sector also show that work-for-less didn't make Wisconsin immune from the problems facing the country, unlike what WMC and the WisGOP spokespeople on AM radio claim. And it's not like the rest of our economy is picking up the slack, as Wisconsin's overall rate of private sector job growth stayed well behind the strong growth in the rest of the country.

Private sector job growth, U.S and Wisconsin
Feb 2013-Feb 2014 U.S. +1.96%, Wis. +1.42%
Feb 2014-Feb 2015 U.S. +2.58%, Wis. +1.82%
Feb 2015-Feb 2016 U.S. +2.17%, Wis. +1.43%

So while I anticipate (right-to) work-for-less to be reinstated in Wisconsin in short-time- WMC and their money-laundering partners at WAR didn't put those judges on the bench for nothing, you know - maybe it shouldn't be. Not because of the workers' rights issues (even if the freeloading of non-union members on negotiated union benefits should be unconstitutional), but because IT DOESN'T WORK AS A POLICY IN WISCONSIN. Well, unless you're trying to bust unions for political advantage, which is indeed what all of these ALEC laws are truly about.

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