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My colleague Dominic Gates reports that the Machinists union is  attempting to organize workers at Boeing’s North Charleston plant. An effort by the International Association of Machinists in 2015 failed.

Boeing’s opening of the 787 assembly plant there was defended as a business move to speed up the long-delayed Dreamliner. The union and critics saw it as a way to gain a cheaper, malleable non-union workforce in a “right to work” state and a region long hostile to organized labor.

That hostility, at the grassroots level, is a big impediment, made more so by the state’s extremely conservative politics. Also, Boeing pays good wages for the Palmetto State. On the other hand, in the first Gilded Age, unions kept fighting and fighting, never giving up. They stood at the forefront of improving working conditions and expanding the middle class.

Loss of worker bargaining power is a big cause of stagnant wages for half of American adults and the skyrocketing wealth of the 1 percent. Unions are the best guarantor of that counterweight. The appeal of unions might grow as the policies of the new administration alienate working people.

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This Week’s Links:

The economy under Trump: Plan for the worst | Larry Summers

The innovation network | Vox EU

What the Davos crowd needs to understand | Mark Thoma

The economics of the Affordable Care Act | Dean Baker

The illusions driving up U.S. asset prices | Robert Shiller

The case against cutting top marginal tax rates | Moody’s


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Question: Would you hire

Someone who lies all the time?

Guess what, you just did