It was pretty amusing to watch the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board attempt to incite panic over the possibility that federal contractors be encouraged treat their workers better. To read the Journal’s editorial, you would think that a living wage, health benefits, pensions, and sick leave were the biggest threat facing America since the financial crisis. American Rights at Work’s Kimberly Freeman Brown takes them to task in a recent letter to the editor:
You are correct about one thing in your otherwise flawed editorial on “high-road” contracts: Where you find unions, you find better wages and benefits. It’s no coincidence that giving an edge to companies which pay a living wage and offer health care, pensions, sick leave, and other benefits will mean giving an edge to union companies. That’s exactly why workers form unions: because they help working families improve their standard of living.
It’s true: workers in unions earn 14% higher wages and are 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, even when controlling for factors like education, occupation, and experience. And leading American economists, business academics, and civil rights leaders all agree that unions are good for our economy and community. As Kim puts it:
In a consumer economy, job creation means nothing if it doesn’t put spending money in the hands of the middle class. So how should our government spend our tax dollars? Creating more McJobs or fostering jobs which support families, pump money into the economy and build a robust middle class? My bet is that the majority of Americans would choose the latter.
We think so, too.