Placing the Worker Before the Job

I have to admit to being a bit confused by David’s comments to my post about Rhode Island’s lost jobs.

  • I pointed out that Rhode Island hadn’t gained jobs, as expected, over the last year, but lost them, including in the construction industry. With a slate of laws in mind that would attract low-end and illegal immigrants to Rhode Island, I quipped acerbically that such workers are precisely whom a state with our economy ought to be wooing.
  • David asserted that the construction jobs being lost are those that such immigrants would claim (driving down construction prices and pay across the board) and that Anchor Rising surely hasn’t a care for such people.
  • Ignoring the baseless attack, I questioned the extent to which illegals are captured in jobless numbers and noted that the several men who’ve stopped by my jobsite desperate for work have all been middle-aged locals.
  • David made an East Bay/West Bay distinction and explained, “My point is that while I am affected much more than you, I refuse to vent anger on the low wage people who have for the most part been used. Instead of a legitimate quest worker program (that
    Bush wanted and I would oppose) we got the illegitimate version. But I do not want to oppose the people working – who came here to work.”

The compounding of bad decisions is enough to induce headaches. Ill considered and inadequately enforced immigration policy at the national and state levels creates an environment in which companies can exploit illegal immigrant workers and drive down wages for citizens, and the solution is to make it easier for illegals to stay and more attractive for them to come to Rhode Island specifically of all the states?
The only healthy (sane) approach for a geographically defined political entity to take is to establish and deploy policies designed to create jobs and then to expand the workforce as necessary. Businesses create jobs, and they will go where conditions are advantageous in order to produce goods for sale elsewhere or (especially with services) where customers are plentiful. In other words, if Rhode Island wishes to attract businesses to create jobs, its policies should focus on bringing in highly skilled workers and potential clients.
Of course, attracting potential clients is precisely what politicians and public sector organizations are doing by marketing the state to other nations’ poor.

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Tom W
Tom W
15 years ago

Economics 101.
Supply and demand works vis-a-vis in the pricing of labor as it does everything else.
Increase the supply, decrease the price. This in turn has a downward pull on incomes all levels (the opposite of “a rising tide lifts all boats”).
This is why labor unions USED to oppose even legal immigration, and especially illegal immigration.
But these days a lot of unions’ growth has come from illegals: janitors; welfare-daycare workers and such. So now they embrace illegals (especially SEIU).
In doing so, they’re throwing their citizen / legal immigrant members under the bus, but increasing the stream of dues income trumps all to the union bosses.
Follow the (dues) money!

15 years ago

Anchor Babies Rising is on to something….take one group of despied and hated people (poor immigrants) and connect them to another group of people (sometimes not described on this blog as such) who are equally villified (public sector unions)and you have a perfect target for small minds.

Tom W
Tom W
15 years ago

Yeah Phil.
Have you ever seen Pat Crowley’s blog? I saw it once months ago and what was displayed prominently? A photo of him in the ubiquitous SEIU purple t-shirt.
Go to SEIU’s “Justice for Janitors” web site.
Consider SEIU’s unsuccessful attempt here (thank you Don Carcieri!) and successful attempts in other states to unionize welfare-daycare workers – who aren’t even employees – typically by executive order AND without a secret ballot election AND a requirement that a majority of the affected workers vote for unionization AND with provision that the state will act as dues collector for SEIU.
And quit with the racist claptrap – “poor immigrants” are not despised – ILLEGAL immigration is despised.
The only “small minds” around here are the ones that can’t grasp the difference between “legal” and “illegal.”

15 years ago

Tom W
My comments were not in reaction to your post but to J. Katz’s words, “of course, attracting potential clients is precisely what politicians ( Laffey) and public sector organizations (unions) are doing by marketing the state to other nation’s poor.”
Tom W I agree that the SEIU has increased its membership drive to include the newly arrived workers who because of their status do not enjoy workplace protections that I assume J. Katz’s does. J. Katz’s admitted confusion by David’s cogent and funny post was evident thoughout but its conclusion that I had written to. Now to the racist claptrap remark…
I have not suggested that anyone who disagrees with me on the immigration issue is racist although there are many who may be. For the purposes of have a debate about the things that affect us I will not resort to name calling or calling into question someones motivation although I do reserve the right to ridicule . Also poor means poor however difficult it is for Republicans to relate to its meaning.

Justin Katz
15 years ago

Not that easy, Phil. It doesn’t matter to what you were responding, you clearly suggested that it’s mere political manipulation to associate the pro-illegal-immigrant crowd with the union crowd. Tom’s pointing out a single of the multiple bits of evidence that make the link clear remains relevant.

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