Tags: Trade | reform | manufacturing | wages

LA Times' Martelle: Trade Reform Needed to Boost Factory Wages

By    |   Sunday, 23 November 2014 06:57 PM

Manufacturing wages have fallen in recent years, and globalization of labor represents a major cause, says Los Angeles Times columnist Scott Martelle.

It's not that domestic manufacturing jobs are disappearing. "Companies have been 'on-shoring' manufacturing jobs, leaving foreign labor markets to return to the U.S.," Martelle writes. 

But that's only because "the costs of doing business overseas have increased, while the U.S. labor market has become cheaper because it has become weaker, due in no small part to decades of overseas competition," he says.

"As a culture, we like to think that competition is good. And it usually is. But when the competition is in labor markets, the race is downhill and results in bigger shareholder portfolios and smaller worker paychecks." 

A new study from the National Employment Law Project states that "while in the past, manufacturing workers earned a wage significantly higher than the U.S. average, by 2013 the average factory worker made 7.7 percent below the median wage for all occupations."

Manufacturing workers' real wages dropped 4.4 percent in the 10 years through 2013.

So what's the solution? A stronger trade policy, Martelle says.

"The looming Trans-Pacific Partnership [a trade deal with Asia] might be good for global manufacturers and American consumers, but those consumers are also American workers," he writes.

"Driving down retail prices while also driving down family incomes is the wrong spiral for community stability and a steady or improving standard of living."

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Manufacturing wages have fallen in recent years, and globalization of labor represents a major cause, says Los Angeles Times columnist Scott Martelle.
Trade, reform, manufacturing, wages
255
2014-57-23
Sunday, 23 November 2014 06:57 PM
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