We hear that the "illegal worker" situation is well on it's way to being resolved. All it took was for Mrs. Schumer's boy, Charlie, to get the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL/CIO Union to agree as to the wages that must be paid. And then, the formerly illegal workers will no longer be "illegal"; as if by magic, they will be "guest workers". (Reportedly the AP Style Manual has an even more sensitive name for them in lieu of "Illegals".) There are a lot of folks (me among them) who believe that when your negotiation includes Richard Trumka across the table and Chuckie S. moderating, you don't have much of a chance of coming out anywhere near even. And so it would seem to be with the "illegals" cum "guest workers".
I fear that the Chamber got snookered by the Union if what I have read of the deal is correct.
My stumbling block is that reportedly the "guest workers" will be paid according to the prevailing wages with the so called "prevailing wages" to be determined by the Labor Department. The rates of pay for various worker categories and locations will apparently be determined by the Labor Department for the work to be performed in the area where the workers are to be employed.
"Prevailing wages" is the exact same term we hear when talking about Davis-Bacon wage rates as they apply to Government funded construction contracts. Potential bidders are told the absolute minimum wages they are allowed to pay for every trade that is apt to be involved in the prosecution of the contract. For each construction contract, the folks who are soliciting bids for the work must obtain (from the Labor Department) wage rates applicable to the type of work to be performed (i.e. the prevailing wages for the area). Those wage rates are part of the bid package and are ultimately included in the contract. And here we have one of the great virtues of the Davis-Bacon Act. Davis Bacon wages, almost without exception, are union wages in an area (or in a nearby area - sometimes not so "nearby" - where the unions have wage rates in place). Davis Bacon is one of the requirements that causes government contracts to cost so much.. Forget about "market forces". No wonder the Nanny State Senator Charlie Schumer likes the deal.
For those of you who may have forgotten (or never known), the Davis Bacon Act was passed in the 1930s largely to keep blacks from the South from going North and competing with the white workers there. And now a Davis-Bacon like requirement (prevailing wages) will apparently be used to protect the union folks from the mostly Hispanic "brown workers".
Who needs the Unions when you have the Labor Department and the Davis Bacon Act forcing the payment of union wages, no matter what the true local wage situation is. Why wouldn't Mrs Schumer's boy, Charlie ,and Richard Trumka like the deal?? And if the Prez' latest nominee to head Labor gets ensconced, it will very likely get even better (or worse - depending on your outlook).
Mr. Tom Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President, has been the leader of that group for many years and has built a fine reputation for doing an effective job. However, it would seem that he got a little outside his expertise and well over his head when dealing with the Sharks from the AFL/CIO (Trumka et. al. aided and abetted by the Senator from NY) over wage rates for our guest workers. They simply "snookered" him. When you don't understand the concept of "prevailing wages" as applied to Davis Bacon activities, the notion sounds fair. After you have seen how it works in the real world, you know that it isn't. The GAO was right in the 1970s when they suggested Davis-Bacon should be repealed.
"Prevailing Wages" in practice is no less than a minimum wage imposed on construction contractors. And now it would appear that it will also be applied to "guest workers". It comes with all the same economic baggage that minimum wages for entry level burger flippers comes with.
It sounds very much like a fair and reasonable standard against which to determine the wages to be paid to guest workers. About all I can do is suggest that you talk to non-union contractors about what the Davis-Bacon "wage rates" do to the cost of government construction contracts. You will hear that setting these minimum wages increase the cost of government construction, ultimately to the detriment of the U.S. Taxpayers. (One more in a long list of unintended consequences for which the Congress is responsible.)
Tom D. got snookered. But it isn't too late to rectify the situation. We need to get (and keep) the government out of the business of setting arbitrary rates of pay - whether it is for entry level jobs at fast food establishments; plumbers, carpenters, or electricians on government funded construction projects; or the harvesting of crops or whatever else our newly minted "guest workers" may be hired to do.