Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Go to college or join a union?


"For women, joining a union makes as much sense as going to college," said John Schmitt, a Senior Economist at CEPR and the author of the study. "All else equal, joining a union raises a woman's wage as much as a full-year of college, and a union raises the chances a woman has health insurance by more than earning a four-year college degree."

What strikes me in this case is that women are more likely to have health care by demanding it from employers (something unions -- whatever their quality -- generally facilitate) than by jumping through professional hoops in order to make themselves sufficiently appealing to the boss.

A lot of the "business" of higher education is geared towards making people afraid that they don't have the skills necessary "to make it in today's economy," which is another way of saying you are inadequate by employer standards, vaguely defined. And yet here we have blue collar women who have decided their employers are inadequate by their standards -- because families need health care, among other things -- and who are organizing around shared concerns in a way that threatens the bottom line.

One can infer from this the comparative benefits of begging alone vs. fighting together.

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