Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Labor roundup

Where to start? There is a lot of labor news out there of late.

We have this tidbit that the Allegheny Conference is warning of a potential Port Authority strike this summer. It could happen, but I wonder if the probability of a Port Authority strike is any higher than normal during the period heading into contract talks. At the same time the City of Pittsburgh firefighters are opening up the possibility of early negotiations. On the potential for a Port Authority strike, it is worthwhile to look at some of the impacts from the last strike that shut down city transit service in the 1990's. It is important because it highlights the complexity of figuring the true cost benefit analysis of transit service.

Many know about this I suspect, but coming up in Pittsburgh in a few weeks: Good Jobs, Green Jobs: A National Green Jobs Conference. Could be interesting in that it is jointly sponsored by the United Steel Workers and the Sierra Club. Also could be interesting given the timing if the PA primary is still relevant.

Then there is the news that union membership is up in Pennsylvania for the first time since 2001. Mentioned here, but I am still confused by the lack of attention to the news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that union membership in the US increased in 2007 which I think would make it the first time in decades.

Obligatory historical factoid: it was a century ago that labor supply in Pittsburgh made the New York Times. Does any of this sound familiar?

Come to Pittsburgh is the message being sent to the workingmen throughout the world. Stay in Pittsburgh is the advice to those already here. From President A.C. Dinkey of the Carnegie Steel Company comes the latter counsel. He supplements it with a number of reasons why Pittsburgh at present is, and in the future will be, the best home in the world for the workingman.

Notice they didn't say workingwoman back then.


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