2009 April 14 Tuesday
Unions Want Cuts In Imported Temporary Workers

More supply lowers price and unions do not want lower prices for labor. Unfortunately for unions the elite of Democratic Party want lower labor costs just like the elite of the Republican Party.

Union officials are embarking on what is likely to be a protracted fight with business over the programs that enable immigrants to enter the country for temporary work.

On Tuesday, leaders of two rival labor federations announced a framework for overhauling the U.S. immigration system that includes setting up an independent commission to assess how many immigrants should be admitted to fill temporary and permanent jobs without displacing U.S. workers.

The AFL-CIO and Change to Win propose that such a commission would analyze regional and industry needs to make recommendations to Congress on annual levels of employment visas. The unions argue that current visa levels are outdated and often keep immigrant workers in temporary status, with fewer benefits and job protections. Business groups say temporary-worker programs are effective and don't disadvantage workers.

Immigrants lower labor costs for business. If the immigrants are extremely productive then they develop more products and services and cause a net increase in labor demand. But most immigrants do not make big contributions to overall productivity and innovation. So business gets lower labor costs. But the rest of us do not benefit.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 April 14 11:40 PM  Immigration Labor Market

Wolf-Dog said at April 14, 2009 11:49 PM:

I cannot prove this, but I am sure that a lot of special interest groups tried to increase immigration in order to fuel the real estate bubble.

Anonymous said at April 15, 2009 4:02 AM:

Monopsonies perform rent seeking by lobbying against cheaper inputs.

News at 11.

Ned said at April 15, 2009 6:56 AM:

Step back, step back folks. No need to push and shove. Plenty of duplicity here for everybody. The AFL-CIO program considers only the effects of LEGAL immigration and temporary workers - H-1B sort of stuff. At a time when the contracting US economy is shedding over a half a million jobs per month, this seems entirely reasonable. One might say that the case is obvious that the US doesn't need ANY foreign guest workers or immigrants right now, but nothing is ever that simple when Washington gets involved. But the 800 pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to mention is the negative effects of ILLEGAL immigration, whose effects dwarf those of the guest worker program. The SEIU has traditionally been a big supporter of both legal and illegal immigration, but they don't want to touch the illegal problem.

The WSJ portrays the conflict as between the unions and business interests, which is true to some extent and is pretty familiar turf for any labor dispute. But it ignores the dispute that the (strongly Democratic) unions are experiencing with the Democratic party elites, who persistently support unlimited legal and illegal immigration.

Also, there's the usual blather about "jobs that Americans don't want to do":

"Because of domestic unemployment, the guest-worker program flies in the face of the perceived need for such a program," said Bob Gray, chief executive of Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., a large grower, packer and processor of fresh fruits and vegetables in California and other states. "Still, we have the issue of whether American workers are willing to work outdoors, in fields and on farms. It's the kind of work that is traditionally hard to recruit and fill."

Well, here's a little story about a whole bunch of American workers who seem pretty anxious for any sort of work (from CBS News, 4/9/09):

A higher-than-expected turnout at a New Hampshire job fair has forced organizers to turn away throngs of job seekers.

More than 10,000 people showed up Thursday for the event at Southern New Hampshire University's athletic complex in Manchester. The job fair had been heavily promoted on television, but organizers expected just 5,000 participants.

Traffic was backed up for miles and quickly filled the 3,000-car Mall of New Hampshire parking lot, which was being used as a shuttle-bus pickup hub.

Officials say 1,300 people, many of them dressed in business suits, entered the job fair within the first hour. The event began at 10 a.m. and was supposed to run until 3 p.m.

CBS station WBZ in Boston reported that by 12:30 p.m. organizers had to shut it down because they were overwhelmed by the turnout.

"We have stopped the number of job seekers who can come to campus because of capacity," said SNHU spokesman Gregg Mazzola. "It's a safety issue."

"(Turnout) runs the gamut, old, young, black, white. I don't think this economy has any gender barriers, age barriers, ethnic barriers," Mazzola told WBZ.

The barenaked truth is that, in this economy, there aren't ANY jobs that Americans don't want to do. Yes, Mr. Gray, you will have to pay the Americans more than the illegal foreign workers. And, yes, you will have to provide them with benefits, such as health and unemployment insurance and Social Security payments. And, yes, they might form a union if you abuse them, and you won't be able to threaten them with deportation if they do. But give it a try, Mr. Gray, it's called obeying the law.

Steve Johnson said at April 17, 2009 3:58 PM:

"Unfortunately for unions the elite of Democratic Party want lower labor costs just like the elite of the Republican Party."

Vicious calumny! The elite of the Democratic party don't want lower labor costs, they just want tens of millions more poor people so we need more bureaucrats to take care of them. After all, it's hard to become a saint if you don't have a poor, pathetic flock to minister to.

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