The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, May 01, 2015

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

RTW states' wages are 3.1% lower 

Something to look forward to in Michigan...

Wages are 3.1 percent lower in so-called “right to work” (RTW) states, for union and nonunion workers alike –after correctly accounting for differences in cost of living, demographics, and labor market characteristics. That comes from  Right-to-Work States Still Have Lower Wages, a paper released April 22 by the Economic Policy Institute’s senior economist Elise Gould and research assistant Will Kimball. The negative impact of RTW laws translates to $1,558 less a year in earnings for a typical full-time worker.

With Gov. Scott Walker recently signing RTW legislation into law in Wisconsin, and lawmakers considering similar legislation in New Mexico, West Virginia, and Kentucky, the EPI said it is important to examine the effect that RTW legislation has on workers’ wages. Gould and Kimball update a 2011 paper to reflect the latest data and cost of living measures. They also conduct a series of rigorousness tests and find that the 2011 econometric model holds up under any reasonable alternative specifications.

“It’s abundantly clear that right to work laws are negatively correlated with workers’ wages,” says Gould.

In addition to the effect on wages, workers in non-RTW states are 2.4 times as likely to be in a union or be protected by a union contract than in RTW states. Meanwhile, workers in RTW states are less likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance or pension coverage.

“Policymakers who are concerned by the three-and-a-half decades of wage stagnation that have plagued American workers should be trying to strengthen unions,” said Kimball. “Collective bargaining is a clear way to raise wages, and right to work laws undercut it.”

RTW legislation instead entitles employees to the benefits of a union contract without paying any of  the cost.

OSHA targets fall prevention

WASHINGTON (PAI)—In a follow-up to Workers Memorial Day (April 28), the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will stage the largest occupational safety event in May.

The agency designated the two weeks from May 4-15 as National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls In Construction Weeks.  Its goal is to educate workers and to prevent all types of construction fall hazards.  OSHA expects unions, construction companies, contractors, trade associations, industry employers and more to participate.

“Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety,” OSHA’s website says.  “This Stand-Down focuses on ‘Fall Hazards’ and reinforcing the importance of ‘Fall Prevention.’"

OSHA wants companies to conduct their own safety stand-downs by “taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace anytime during May 4-15, 2015.”

In Michigan and around the country, falls are consistently at the top of the list of worker fatalities.

Poker Run set for May 9th

All are invited to participate in a motorcycle poker run, set for Saturday, May 9 at the IBEW Local 252 JATC Training Center in Chelsea.

Proceeds will support breast cancer research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. The cost is $20 per bike; an extra card costs $5.

Registration starts that day at 10 a.m., with the last bikes out at 11:30 a.m. A blessing of the bikes takes place at 10:30 a.m. The Training Center is located at 13400 Luick Dr. in Chelsea. Refreshments will be available following the run, and there will be a 50/50 raffle and additional prizes.

RSVPs would be appreciated. For more information or to RSVP, contact Mike Cobb, (517) 395-6197; Mike Crawford, (734) 891-5147, or Brandon Linnabury, (517) 206-3489. E-mails can be sent to

The IBEW Local 252 Training Center/Union 4 Life is looking to make this an annual event, a fundraiser in addition to a golf outing they hold during the summer.