Free Market Beats Big Labor at Starting Wages

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

We on the Right make claims about the free market that are often difficult to verify. Advocacy groups, “experts” on the Left, and progressive politicians can always point to Have Nots and argue that the market is leaving someone behind. So when markets work in real time, we should go to great lengths to point it out, celebrate it, and urge policy makers to learn from it.



Vincent Vernuccio highlights such a market victory in his recent column titled, “Union Brags about Winning Wage Increase Already Paid by Non-union Employers.” Vernuccio writes:


In a move that has the supermarket industry scratching its head, the United Food and Commercial Workers, or UFCW, is singing its own praises for negotiating a wage increase that is already common practice among some of the largest non-union businesses.


Last month, Kroger stores in Kentucky and southern Indiana agreed to increase wages for part-time workers and new hires to $10 an hour, keeping one of the nation’s largest supermarket chains in line with its competitors on employee pay.


It’s the same song, different day for union leaders who think they deserve reward and recognition for implementing changes that business executives and CEOs long before understood as necessary.


Before taking a victory lap, the UFCW should look to other stores that have paved the way for higher starting wages, especially WalmartTarget, and Publixeach of which the union has consistently tried (and failed) to organize.


The UFCW’s big “victory” doesn’t seem very impressive when we learn that last year, “Target raised its starting minimum wage to $12 and announced a business plan to increase that to $15 by the end of 2020. Also in 2018, Walmart increased its minimum wage to $11 an hour and bolstered its benefits package, resulting in an estimated total value of $17.50 an hour. This latter number includes the value of regular and overtime pay, a 401(k) match, health care benefits, an associates’ discount, paid time off — and a quarterly bonus that more than 1 million full- and part-time associates earned in 2017 based on store performance.”



Unions have lost a fair amount of political clout in recent years. Since President Donald Trump’s election, the National Labor Relations Board has returned to its original role as a neutral referee between Labor and management, rather than as the tool of Big Labor bosses during the Obama administration. And the Supreme Court’s Janus decision loosened the grip Labor Bosses have on government workers.


Unions can survive without political clout, though. Can they survive if the wages they negotiate are outpaced by wages offered by non-union employers?


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos