Strong labor unions are much needed in this country. There maybe room for improvement in them, but without them the American worker is doomed to ride the wage train to the bottom in the search for corporate profits.
One of the things that often makes it more difficult for labor to negotiate with owners is monopolies. Too often we get caught up in the definitions. There doesn’t have to be only a single competitor in the field for the Public’s interests to be harmed.
Mergers like the impending AT&T and Time Warner merger will severly limit competition and severely impact labors’ ability to negotiate fair wages and conditions.
collectively, mergers at this scale are reconfiguring the American economy in ways that seem to be tilting the scales toward the interests of ever-larger corporations, to the broad detriment of labor.
As Senator John Sherman, the principal author of the nation’s core antimonopoly law, put it more than a century ago, a monopoly “commands the price of labor without fear of strikes, for in its field it allows no competitors.”
Three years ago, the Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz proposed that increasing profits from companies managing to avoid normal competitive forces — what economists refer to as “rents” — appeared to be an important factor in the rising share of the nation’s income flowing toward corporate profits and top executive pay in recent years. He surmised that weak labor unions — which represent barely over 7 percent of workers in the private sector — did not have the clout to protect the workers’ share.
In a competitive market, companies will vie with their rivals to hire the best workers, lifting wages up to workers’ “marginal product,” the last cent where their employers could still turn a profit. As productivity grows, wages will be bid up further. Prosperity will spread. But when there are few or no rivals in a labor market, employers will pay much less.
How Waning Competition Deepens Labor’s Plight http://nyti.ms/2e9EV10