Monday, January 6, 2014

Score 1 for the rationality assumption

As David Friedman has said, it isn't true, but it's useful as a prediction tool;
While Boeing executives chose to remain silent the day after the machinists’ contract vote secured the work of building the 777X jet for Washington state, top officials at the machinists national headquarters and in Gov. Jay Inslee’s office were almost giddy.
....Yet for some observers, the heady enthusiasm after Friday’s narrow 51 percent vote was diluted by the sobering prospect of dwindling middle-class wages and benefits, and the near certainty that pressure for future concessions to Boeing will continue.
Leon Grunberg [U of Puget Sound sociologist and], co-author of “Turbulence,” a book that surveyed the attitudes of Boeing union members toward the company, said the 777X contract deal is unusual even in an era of weakening organized labor.
He said unions in North America have repeatedly been forced to make major concessions on wages and benefits, though usually when a company is in crisis and facing bankruptcy or closure.
In this case, the machinists were pressed to give up their pensions though Boeing is soaring financially.
“It’s unusual for a company that’s doing so well to push so hard,” said Grunberg. “If a local as strong as the machinists with a company as successful as Boeing has to agree to give up these things they’ve won, the trend (of a diminished labor movement) will definitely continue.” 
Maybe because the management of Boeing is far-sighted enough to want to avoid 'facing bankruptcy or closure'?

Of course, no one is being forced 'to give up their pensions', current workers can keep the defined benefit pensions they have now. It's future workers who will have very generous defined contribution pensions; if they manage them wisely they'll be happy with them.

In addition maybe the 51% who voted 'yes' thought about where else they could find a job that pays (with a little overtime) six figures annually. The scoreboard should read:

Economic Rationality 1
Socialist Kshama 0

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