Saturday, June 12, 2004

Day-care workers strike in New York

NYC day care workers walk out
Source: CNN
Date: June 9. 2004

From the article:
    Child-care workers who look after as many as 50,000 youngsters walked off the job Wednesday in New York's second major strike this week by unions trying to pressure the city for a raise.
    The day care workers, who are employed by centers that serve many poor families and are partially subsidized by the city, have not had a contract in more than four years and have not gotten a raise in 31/2 years.
    The union has rejected a contract similar to one reached by the city and District Council 37, the city's largest union, which would have given them a $1,000 cash payment and a 3 percent raise effective immediately, and a 2 percent raise next year.

    Bloomberg said the city simply cannot afford to offer bigger raises than that.
The first thing to note is that these workers have taken a significant pay cut over the last three and a half years. If you assume that the total inflation rate over those three and a half years was 10 percent, then, by not receiving a pay increase for three and a half years, these workers have taken a 10% pay cut. For someone making $30,000 a year, 10% represents $3,000 per year. A $1,000 payment does not begin to cover the gap, and a 3% increase will not even match inflation in 2004, never mind for the past 3.5 years.

Bloomberg's statement is important, and it is also extremely common: "[We] simply cannot afford to offer bigger raises than that." This is a classic refrain used to concentrate wealth.

Bloomberg knows a great deal about concentrating wealth. For example, this recent article from CBS News notes that:
    Extreme wealth has many advantages, just ask Mayor Bloomberg. He doesn't travel on commercial airliners, only on his company's private jets. And because he can afford more than just luxury, CBS 2 Investigates has learned the mayor's planes will also have very sophisticated, very expensive security systems installed to prevent a terrorist attack.

    It’s the ultimate status symbol for the extremely rich. The 35 million-dollar Falcon long range jet. Billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg has 3 of them. But apparently luxury isn't enough.
The last several years have been marked by deep tax cuts designed to benefit Mayor Bloomberg and other wealthy people like him. The "lack of money" cited by the mayor is a direct side-effect of these tax cuts, which serve no purpose but to further concentrate wealth. Note that, during the booming 1990s, the economy was growing at an unprecedented rate with these taxes in place. Certainly these taxes were not inhibiting the economy in any way. By eliminating these taxes, those on the bottom end of the scale are seeing significant financial problems.

Note that there is always plenty of money available, whenever and wherever it is needed, to give raises to executives. For example, in North Carolina this week there has been a sudden desire to raise the salaries of university chancellors in the UNC system. They are state employees. According to this article:
    UNC President Molly Broad and chancellors at five campuses could get big raises under a plan to lift salaries to a minimum level compared to executive pay at other universities across the nation.

    If approved by the UNC Board of Governors, the annual salary of leaders at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University could each rise by more than $40,000 to $304,392. Broad's pay could increase to $359,182 from $300,485.

    The salary levels were recommended Monday by the board's personnel and tenure committee. The group endorsed the idea of paying the 16 UNC system chancellors in the top 75 percent of peer universities across the United States, and then raising the system president's salary accordingly.
The reason we "simply cannot afford" to give raises like these to rank and file workers is because all of the money is funneling to the wealthiest people (through salary increases, tax cuts, etc.) in a massive effort to concentrate wealth.


At 7:35 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Thought you would like this. earning


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