race to the bottom

Posted: July 8, 2014
By: Clay Cerny

Today’s Chicago Sun-Times features a story on United Airlines’ decision to outsource 600 jobs at 12 airports. According to a union spokesperson, employees who make $24 an hour will be replaced by those make $12 an hour. Who will be protected (at least for the time being)? Members of the union who are under contract. Outsourcing gives companies a way to cut costs through “efficiency,” which often means paying employees less. The union spokesperson cited in the article put it best when he defined outsourcing as “a race to the bottom.” Yes, big companies will save money. The outsourcing companies will hire people. But the engine of the economy consumers – working people – are being paid less. They won’t have money to buy airline tickets or cars or homes. Sooner or later, call it outsourcing, efficiency, or a race to the bottom, we will all pay the price for this kind of narrow kind of thinking. We can’t have falling wages and a healthy economy.