Union scams


How does $444 an hour sound for a job requiring no high school diploma, and training which is measured in a the days of a single week? Fair?

That's what forklift operators at a public facility, McCormick Place in Chicago, earn for work on Sundays. The ultra—high costs for hourly labor at the nation's convention centers are already a scandal, but it is one compounded by ridiculous work rules governing the size of crews, specialization of work, and the need to have one worker set up a table, and another one plug int he equipment sitting on it.

McCormick Place has the worst situation, at least among the major trade show venues. Sunbelt rivals Las Vegas and Orlando are cheaper, and can be more pleasant during winter, to boot. So Chicago is in danger of pricing itself out of business. Crain's Chicago Business covers the story, but is available only to subscribers.

But the story extends to other public facilities in other cities. In Oakland, the operators of the giant cranes used to unload container ships make six figure incomes, and don't need a high school diploma, either. Unlike the stevedores of old, they work in an airconditioned/heated environment in their cabs, and face no particular hazzards.

I have no objection to people earning a lot of money, based on merit. But using union coercion on public facilities to extort unreasonable compensation is not a good thing for anyone.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   4 4 05