Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tech industry, unions at odds over 'stimulus' plan

I had a comment yesterday [what else is new? -ed] on Environmental Capital's post "Green Jobs: Enough to Counter Mass Layoffs?":

The Change to Win folks that you linked to the other day came out with their greencollar report.
By the looks of it, they intend that all green jobs will be union jobs.
This may come as a bit of a shock to some Silicon Valley VC’s, among others.
I do get a kick out of the idea of unionizing the Valley.

Comment by Climateer - February 4, 2009 at 2:31 pm
Here's the Change to Win paper "High Road or Low Road...",
Commissioned by
Change toWin, Sierra Club, the Laborers International Union of North America, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Today, earth2tech's Daily Sprout had a link to this article from cnet:
As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama famously courted both labor unions and Silicon Valley firms. Now President Obama is finding that two groups that have been some of his most enthusiastic supporters are at loggerheads.

The tech sector sees President Obama's call for billions of dollars in targeted tax cuts and deficit spending on a new green economy as a generous windfall. So does the labor movement, which spent at least $385 million electing Democratic candidates, and is at odds with business over investment and procurement policies in the so-called "stimulus" package, including the "buy American" provision.

At the opening of the Good Jobs Green Jobs national conference here Wednesday, union leaders said high labor standards must be maintained in the government's nearly trillion-dollar attempt at economic recovery--which includes billions of dollars for broadband deployment and tens of billions of dollars for energy initiatives.

"If we extinguish workers' rights, the chances for a green economy are nonexistent," said Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, the largest communications and media union that represents workers from AT&T, Embarq, Comcast, and many other companies. "We're not protectionists--we're people who believe in a sustainable economy. We can't just depend on markets, and if we do, we're likely to come up with answers that are at best incomplete."

On the other hand, many economists agree that higher union salaries can lead to fewer jobs (and higher unemployment). The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics says: "High union wages that exceed the competitive market rate are likely to cause job losses in the unionized sector of the economy.">>>MORE

I'd still like to see Sand Hill Road unionized.