Sunday, February 21, 2010

What unions are getting...

....from the Obama Administration, according to The Economist:
Union leaders such as Mr Trumka and Andy Stern, the leader of the more moderate Service Employees International Union, are regular guests at the White House. Mr Obama has revoked some Bush-era executive orders that unions hate and issued a few they adore. He has appointed union insiders to top jobs, allowed Congress to add “buy American” provisions to the stimulus bill, risked a trade war with China to please tyre-workers, let other trade deals wither and brazenly favoured unions when bailing out car firms.
But his biggest favour has been green, foldable and borrowed. For example, he encourages the use of “Project Labour Agreements” on big federal construction projects, whereby contractors must recruit through a union hiring hall. Such agreements inflate costs by 12-18%, according to David Tuerck of Suffolk University, and were banned under Mr Bush. Even where PLAs are not in force, federal contractors are obliged to pay “prevailing” wages. That actually means something close to the union rates, which is nice for the workers in question but means that taxpayers get fewer roads and schools for their money.