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Survey: Wages Fell for Some Workers (Union Pimp Piece/WI)
Wisconsin State Journal ^ | July 15, 2005 | Marv Balousek

Posted on 07/15/2005 4:32:25 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin

Wayne Forler counts himself as one of the lucky ones.

Forler, 57, who started at Webcrafters out of Monona Grove High School in 1966, now works as a head pressman and soon will mark 40 years with the company.

"The best thing about Webcrafters is they never laid me off during slow times," he said. These days, he doesn't like standing on his feet too long during 12-hour shifts and said he sometimes regrets not getting into management because "it's air-conditioned and you sit."

But, he said, pressmen earn $18 to $30 an hour at Webcrafters, a far higher rate than many newer manufacturing jobs in the state.

An annual pay study by CompData Surveys shows that wages for some manufacturing jobs have declined as Wisconsin has replaced jobs lost to outsourcing with new jobs at lower pay levels.

The annual wage survey of 478 private sector jobs is widely used by human resources managers to help set pay and benefit levels. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, 154 companies submitted compensation data.

Pay increases for the Madison area are expected to average 3.49 percent next year, up slightly from this year's average of 3.43 percent, according to the survey.

The decline in wages is seen in jobs such as forklift operator, inventory clerk, machinist, production worker and receiver. Some white-collar jobs also showed declines although most had increases, according to the survey.

Jim Cavanaugh, president of the South Central Federation of Labor, said outsourcing is only one reason for the wage declines.

"It's got something to do with the nature of the work force. We have a lot of immigrants now in Dane County who are desperate for any kind of income," he said.

Cavanaugh said Wisconsin's new manufacturing jobs aren't the same as those that were lost.

"A lot of manufacturing jobs were created, but they're different in terms of where they're located," he said. "They're not unionized and not the same quality."

Manufacturing has rebounded enough in Wisconsin so that now there are labor shortages in certain areas that could drive wages upward, said Eric Grosso, a labor market economist with the state Department of Workforce Development.

"The manufacturing recovery is a work in progress right now," he said. "If there are shortages, you get into the supply-and-demand issues. When the work picks up, they need workers right away."

Earlier this year, the department estimated that Wisconsin still had 90,000 fewer manufacturing jobs than the state had in 2000.

UW-Madison business professor Barry Gerhart said outsourcing also affects white- collar occupations like computer programmers because some of those jobs have been exported to India. The pay survey found decreases in programmer analyst positions in both the Madison area and entire state.

"It is no longer just blue- collar workers at risk of low- wage competition from elsewhere," Gerhart said. "Computer programmers and accountants are just a few examples of occupations increasingly at risk. If this turns out to be a true structural change, it may push white-collar wages in some cases down some toward blue-collar wages."

He said falling blue-collar pay and rising pay for technical jobs is a national trend.

"The wage premium for acquiring more skill, training or education has increased in the last two decades," Gerhart said.

Gerhart said the weakening of the labor movement also has driven down wages and that less than 10 percent of workers in private industry jobs today are represented by unions.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: education; immigrant; immigration; job; manufaturing; outsourcing; printing; union; wage; work
"It's got something to do with the nature of the work force. We have a lot of immigrants now in Dane County who are desperate for any kind of income," he said.

Cavanaugh said Wisconsin's new manufacturing jobs aren't the same as those that were lost.

"A lot of manufacturing jobs were created, but they're different in terms of where they're located," he said. "They're not unionized and not the same quality."

Oh, Brother!!!

1 posted on 07/15/2005 4:32:25 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Survey: Wages Fell for Some Workers

Did they mention that the real earnings for those workers typically went up because they were assigned to different regions? My annual wage in California isn't enough to buy more than a 900 square foot home in the dumps...but this same wage would allow me to afford a actual mansion in West Des Moines, even if I took a $20K/yr pay cut!

Funny how the press likes to overlook such inconvenient facts.

2 posted on 07/15/2005 4:37:29 PM PDT by Prime Choice (I have to keep my expectations low. I can't fake looking impressed.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I’m union Diana, but not dyed in the wool. And wouldn’t trust the old guard unions, AFLCIO, Teamsters, as far as I could kick them.

It was these very behemoth unions that cost Wisconsin our manufacturing jobs decades ago.

AO Smith once employed twelve thousand people as it’s zenith. PH is another in a long line one shut down and cost the area thousands of jobs. This area was built on the incomes of manufacturing.

Not any longer. The unions broke the back of the big mean old companies. Power to the worker! Now there’s no jobs in the tens of thousands. Only in the hundreds, and now the unions want to destroy them as well.

Cya (-:


3 posted on 07/15/2005 5:45:47 PM PDT by damncat
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To: damncat

Yep. Dad and both my Grandpas were Allis Chalmers & PH non-union workers. They refused the extortion and were always the first ones laid off but, they always got their jobs back, too.

I remember many times in my youth when they'd be sharing a few beers, unemployed, hanging out on the porch, railing against the unions...but they had their pride and were good men who wouldn't cave in.

You know, they just don't make 'em much like that anymore. ;)


4 posted on 07/16/2005 7:44:09 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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