Will ThinkProgress admit mass immigration led to lower unionization and lower wages? (Bryce Covert)

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Bryce Covert - the Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress - discusses a new study [1] claiming that wages for many workers have fallen since 1979 due to lower unionization rather than computerization.

As could be expected from anything coming out of the Center for American Progress, Covert fails to note the role that massive immigration - especially of the illegal variety - played in the decline of unionization and the decline in wages.

Covert writes [2]:

Corporate profits have soared in recent decades, while wages for the average worker have not fared nearly as well. A new study sheds some light on why that is happening: declining unionization.

While some economists have posited that this trend is thanks to a rise in computerization, which boosted productivity and reduced the need for actual workers, researcher Tali Kristal contends that it is more closely related to falling union membership. She found that from 1979 to 2007, workers' share of national income decreased by six percentage points. The money not spent on wages went to corporate profits instead.

But this trend didn't occur evenly across the economy. The areas that saw the largest decline in labor's share of income were in those that at one point were highly unionized: construction, manufacturing, and transportation. "By contrast," she said, "in the lightly unionized industries of trade, finance, and services, workers' share stayed relatively constant for even increased." This suggests that falling levels of unionization, which she says "led to the erosion of rank-and-file workers' bargaining power," are to blame.

So, what caused that drop in unionization? Obviously, the major reason was massive immigration as companies were allowed to import non-unionized workers in order to undercut unionized workers. All of that was aided and abetted by the majority of supposed liberals. For a history lesson, see this. The end result of that can be seen in Postville, where some on the left still supported a company's desire for non-unionized, foreign, illegal labor even after that company had been charged with 9,000 child labor law violations.

Will Think Progress admit the role that the mass immigration they support and have supported played in the situation they now decry? The first thing to do is to admit the problem and take responsibility. Will they do that?

I expect not. Instead, they'll try to claim that what those like them enabled in the past is all water under the bridge and that the thing to do now is to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Yet, that will have the impact of further lowering wages; see immigration wage floor. It will also give a big win to big business instead of penalizing them. Big business will respond to their big win by pushing for even more immigration designed to lower wages, and groups like CAP will be there to help them out (and then complain about it later on).

Please take a moment and write @BryceCovert, asking her to admit immigration's role and asking her to admit that passing amnesty will eventually result in even lower wages for many workers.

[1] eurekalert . org/pub_releases/2013-05/asa-lud052813.php
[2] thinkprogress . org/economy/2013/05/30/2079581/