13 Comments
Sep 12, 2023Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Correct. There's a simple answer for politicians if they're afraid of the economic cost of a strike - pressure the companies to agree to the employee demands for fair pay and benefits. John Fetterman yesterday put out a statement on the potential UAW strike doing just this, thereby making clear where the fault lies if the strike occurs - with the employers. If local, state, or regional economies temporarily tank because this strike happens, blame the auto manufacturers not the workers.

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"try thinking about a strike as something that an intransigent employer chooses to cause by refusing to pay workers a far wage."

Or refusing to implement a consistent schedule. Or refusing to give employees sick days or maternity leave. Or etc. etc. etc.

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Post shared, book pre-ordered.

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Thanks for this excellent explainer.

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Sep 16, 2023Liked by Hamilton Nolan

I used to manage rural properties for landowners. One of our tenants worked a beautiful piece of farmland growing a variety of crops, including a local favorite – organic strawberries. He converted an old mess hall/processing building into a retail establishment and commercial kitchen. The space was very inviting to retail customers who came to pick their own berries, and to make their own jam using the commercial-grade equipment he installed.

He employed quite a few people and treated them well. Among other things, he reached out to UFW to organize his staff. He reasoned that it saved him time and money to deal with a single contract negotiation than to try to negotiate separately with every single employee. He also set up a worker-ownership process so that the operation would continue once he retired.

It takes all kinds, whatever, but I wish we had more business owners like him.

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Another pair of questions to ask:

These workers generate $X billion of value.

What percentage of that amount is returned to them in wages?

What percentage of that amount is soaked up as corporate profit?

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Sep 13, 2023Liked by Hamilton Nolan

more good writing. i can't subscribe at the moment but i finally pre-ordered yr book on bookshop.org so cheers.

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Great column today. It's what we need to hear.

It is SO IMPORTANT we understand the dynamic between people who receive outlandish salaries, who CONSISTENTLY make BAD decisions (I mean you David Zaslav), who drive multiple companies into economic ruin, and the artists, who are the actual CREATORS of the things we enjoy, and ask only to be fairly compensated for creating the beautiful things we love.

There's a difference between "content" (Zaslav?) and "Art". The Artists of today, and I suspect the many renowned Artists of our past, would agree.

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Sep 17, 2023·edited Sep 17, 2023

It's not entirely true that "workers do the work." The manager who designs the assembly line, or the engineer who designs the robots that replace some workers. Also the accountants that make sure the endeavor is profitable. These people are also adding value to the process of building cars.

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And then there's the whole ephemeral world of the stock market...An "acceptable" P/E ratio is till INSANELY 'misrepresentative' of the actual value of a company...And while the initial bump from paying workers their rightful wage would have an effect in the stock market, it would go right back up to where it was in no time...It certainly wouldn't be ANY worse that any number of garden variety crashes and dips that happen all the time...AND if an entire sector is unionized, there wouldn't be an issue with companies outperforming each other by seeing who can pay their employess the least

Take UPS...There IS no other carrier that comes CLOSE to competing with them...In fact they're ripe for some anti-trust action (IMO)...but Fed EX, their closest competitor is a joke anymore (remember when they were the 'it' carrier?) ...So if you're an investor, UPS is not only going to be your BEST option (if you're investing in this sector) but your ONLY option...

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