June 20, 2019
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The above is one of the oldest sayings in the history of labor. Why is it there a constant battle between employers and employees to find a relatively fair wage? At all levels, including the C suite. Public companies have to satisfy their stockholders, or they will invest their dollars somewhere else (do not be short sighted: issuing dividends is a good way to keep stockholders, even if the price of the stock in itself does not necessarily go up. Different people invest for different reasons and with different goals in mind). In this day and age, give me a stock that yields a 5% dividend, and I will take it.

Has anyone ever tried to place a price tag on a massive labor strike? Just because you want to hold off on that extra dollar per hour to your hourly employees? Even at less than full employment, nobody likes to beg for a “living wage”. A strike, whether you are serving meals, selling room nights or building motorcycles, can cripple your operation for 6 times as long as the strike itself: mess up your reservations, cripple your laundry, destabilize food production, deplete your inventories, lose valuable staff, not to mention the big blow to your reputation.

Happy people do not leave. Unhappy people do some very bad things: remember the days when one Chevrolet out of 20 would have an empty coke bottle inside its doors? An accident? I do not think so. Maybe subtle sabotage made to look like an accident in a court of law.

Another very destabilizing occurrence when connected with a strike, is the boycott that usually follows. It used to be that an executive team too flexible with concessions was called a pushover by its stockholders.

Remember when someone said about Seattle, when it brought about the $15/an hour Living Wage? That the city would go bankrupt in no time? Well, it might partly be the Amazon effect, but the city is prospering like never before.


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