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tv   Whatd You Miss  Bloomberg  December 7, 2021 4:30pm-5:00pm EST

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>> from bloomberg world headquarters in new york, i am romaine bostick. caroline hyde is off today. >> she missed a lot. a lot of rallies in stock. sending the s&p 500 back near the levels we saw just prior to thanksgiving. it has been a little bit of a roller coaster as people digest fears about omicron. they digest fears about economic growth and then they look at some of those valuations.
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as the market try -- try to assess what is going on with the state of the economic recovery, they have to keep their eye on a big component of that. that is labor. labor costs rise. some of that has to do with more power than the workers have these days. we will focus that on the next half hour. the unionization efforts are probably the strongest we have seen in several years if not decades. amazon and starbucks and deere are dealing with companies demanding better pay and working conditions. the worries that seem to be a bit shallow -- it continues. we are getting headlines today out of another company here dealing with workers that are saying we want a little bit more. kellogg's, they make cereal. >> it is really incredible when you think about some of the strongest labor efforts that we had.
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you mentioned we talked a lot about amazon earlier this year. we talked about john deere. today we talked about where headlines out of kellogg's. i wonder how much of this has been about the macro economic backdrop that workers are feeling empowered and really rethinking where we want to be after this covid scenario. how much of it is a president that is really touting this and saying he wants good paying labor jobs. >> incredible when you think about what is happening at kellogg's and amazon. the national labor relations board has paved the way for a vote on thursday as they halted the bid by starbucks to halt the counting of union votes. this really paved the way for the first label among the starbucks coffee chains. thousands of corporate run u.s. locations. it is the start of a bigger move. >> we need to go back to taylor's point. she sort of alluded to the present here. we have not had a president that
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has been this much of an advocate for unions in our lifetime. that is having a significant impact on some of the sentiment we are seeing area let's get some perspective from josh edelson. let's start off here with the national labor relations board. the president has some degree of control on it. just the general sentiment out of the white house and trying to promote an economic agenda that is inclusive of union workers. >> the national labor relations board is the agency created in the new deal to enforce work will -- enforce workplace protections for union as well as nonunion workers. it is the agency that oversees elections to unionize. starbucks has now lost several rounds of this legal fight at the labor board in which each step of the way, starbucks has been arguing that is workers have no right to vote on a store by store basis about whether to
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unionize. in the buffalo, new york region where workers at several restaurants have petitioned for collective bargaining, starbucks has said if there is going to be a vote, it should involve the workers at all 20 stores in the region and the company should only have to negotiate if a majority of all those workers vote the way they want to. instead, the labor board, two democrats and one republican on a panel will be acting erector who said if workers at one of these -- acting director who said if workers at one of these stores -- that would be the first unionized corporate run starbucks in the united states and the comfy will have to negotiate. at least they will be legally required to. >> how were you thinking about this on a store by store basis? to pivot toward manufacturing. we think of john deere when we
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think of traditional organized labor. what sort of ramifications does this have? >> some in organized labor in recent years have been trying to avoid these sort of labor elections because the process in which there is ample opportunity for the company to hold mandatory antiunion meetings to one-on-one try to dissuade workers from organizing, there are some campaigns like the fight for 15 campaign which is a campaign of the same union behind the starbucks campaign. some of those campaigns have focused on taking a national approach, putting national pressure on the national chain, trying to get a national agreement rather than going store by store and having labor elections. the theory at starbucks is that if the workers get a foothold at one or more stores, that will set off a much larger movement. >> one thing that is so important about starbucks in
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particular is they have already moved to raise minimum wage. what is it that workers want above and beyond that question mark >> at starbucks, workers i have talked to said they want a say in all kinds of issues. they want a say on scheduling, on safety issues including situations like customers harassing them about masks. on issues like greater pay for more senior workers who have been there longer beyond what starbucks currently provides those workers and another thing to your point earlier that starbucks workers have said is that they feel left replaceable now in this labor market and they feel a sense of levers to act. >> thank you for that, josh. this is about the strengthening hand that some workers are seeing these days. and that is leading to a big rise in union activity. we want to welcome rick morgan.
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he counsels employers on labor law issues. i would assume that you and a lot of your peers out there have to be relatively busy these days, when you see the uptick in union activity or union lobbying for more union activity here, do you see this as a trend that is persistent or something that is maybe a little bit more passing? >> i think it will be more persistent. you go back to josh's comments. we have an administration that is in right now as the president has said i want good union jobs, not necessarily good jobs but good union jobs. he has appointed a number of individuals who are supportive of his view about how the national net -- national labor relations act should be used in the context of union employer and employee relations. i believe we will see and are
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seeing greater union efforts across the board, whether it be in the retail side, the manufacturing side, it is something that the business has to be aware of and be prepared for. >> the timing of this on the flipside is interesting. i am wondering if you could argue that wages are rising, employers are realizing they have to be more flexible with people. the case for a union is actually less than it was a rigell because people are getting wage hikes without a union. would you argue that? >> i think an argument can be made in that arena. a lot of what you deal with in union organizing issues is not solely the wage issue but there is a broader treatment issue and with all of the covid related
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concerns we have all had and seen, the demands that have been placed on all the employers across the board, i think there is a convergence of events that has made the union activity one that we are going to see continue to rise and wages oftentimes can just be a strong man -- strawmen in this all -- this argument. >> what pressures do you see greater labor face as they face these union votes and corporate pushback to some of this activity? >> i think the pushback will really be driven at the board level. i think as josh pointed out, the president has appointed like-minded people to the national labor relations board. if you go back to one of the first things president biden did, it was to ask for the resignation of the general
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counsel for the national labor relations board and if he did not do it, he was going to fire him and he did it on day one of his administration. that was a signal that this administration is going to be supportive of labor unions and their efforts to organize employees. coincidental with that, we see the proactive that has been at least passed out of the house and all of those are more favorable to labor organized -- labor organizing than the employers. >> when we talk about the ability for companies to circumvent or pushback on this, we have seen certain tactics, legal tactics but still, tactics nonetheless of companies that have found ways to thwart some of these union drives here. is there any sort of way the government could actually exert pressure directly on the
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companies themselves based on the laws we already have on the books question mark >> they can buy decisional law, by showing that in certain situations like what you just mentioned that there have been unfair labor practices committed. i think the real effort of the union is to try to see whether or not they can get a change in the law and eliminate certain things like the free speech rights that have been partial -- parcel of the labor relations actions in 1948. i think that is where we will see more of the effort but certainly the labor board itself , as cases come before them, they can make the decisions to pushback on employers who are
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not following the law. >> when union membership has recently been on a decline, do people now feel more comfortable paying some of the dues and fees if they know that it is going to be worth it? it is going to make a real change for them? >> i don't really know the answer to that question about what is going through the mind of the individual workers when it comes to paying union dues. i think there is a dilemma when you look at it. we have seen wages start to rise. we are all employees. and then union dues would take a pretty big chunk out of that. i am not convinced that paying union dues and what a union can bring to the table from an employer's perspective in that
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employer, employee relations if that is any benefit to the individual worker. >> rick morgan, really appreciate your time and your perspective there and breaking this all down for us. and coming up, we are going to continue to focus on labor. the coalition for the democratic workplace joins us to discuss the dynamic of higher costs and higher wages and what that means for workers. this is bloomberg. ♪
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>> we have really been focusing
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on labor efforts -- companies seem to be doing just fine, maybe they are passing on some of those costs to the consumer and maintaining margins and of course, the bottom line. quite this is the undercurrent to it all. there is the perception that these copies are doing well. many of these companies are being paid well and the work is down below feel like they are being -- are not being compensated enough. we can debate whether that perception is real or not but that has been what is fueling a lot of this. >>, this is about wages themselves and other benefits and working conditions. it will be interesting to see how it plays out across different sectors and how we play out against amazon, different sectors, different types of workers. >> we talked to some of the organizers and some of those union efforts over at amazon.
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this is a big advocate for more unionization and more promotion of union jobs but there is still a big debate here as to whether unions are needed, at least in the private sector. >> why now? if we are finally getting these wage gains that people don't like they're out of this financial crisis, people may feel they are getting more influx -- morph >> ability. if employers are being more flexible. >> you have some people who will point that out. who knows if he is being serious or not but he has tweeted out the idea that some of his plans actually pay better than some of the unionized car plants of some of the competitors. i have not verified that but he says we pay well and offer good working conditions. what will you get out of being in a union that you're not getting from us already.
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this is the chairwoman of the coalition for a democratic workplace including the u.s. chamber of commerce. let's start here, there are very persuasive arguments out there for an increase in unionization. there are pretty persuasive arguments that could have more detrimental effects on business activity and even to a certain extent, the pay is in the long run. >> i think there is an uptick right now. union efforts straight for the union organization. the issue right now is that there is a labor shortage. there is pressure on the supply chain and unprecedented care crisis. the unions have so themselves a solution to this problem. at the end of the day, i don't think that the strikes by unionized employees are involving the resolution. >> if they are not the resolution in your eyes, what is a better solution at a time when
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we do see real things for living , wages that rise commensurate with inflation. >> this represents 21,000 members of the construction industry. they choose not to join a union. our members pay well above minimum wage, they pay above $33 per hour as opposed to all of the private sectors, the pay of $31 per hour. this is more of a solution without a problem. i think that covid has led workers to look for more options as opposed to how they can make more money, how they can be savor and our members are already offering those solutions. >> it was interesting. i am curious what members who don't join unions say if it is
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the dues or the fees where they feel like maybe wages are not the story. are there other stories they are hoping to make changes in other places? >> sure. i don't think that the union always tells the true story of where those dues go. i know there is a bill in congress called the protecting the rights organize act. it was previously mentioned by the speaker before me and if that bill were to pass, it drives up union membership and he could earn them about $9 billion in dues. that is often not spoken about. more members, more dues. >> there is an argument that it goes beyond just pay, it goes to the idea of how the employees are treated and how these employees feel with regards to their ability to go back to the employers and advocate for whatever changes they feel they may need. there are a lot of people that look at the current conditions and say you can't really do that. if you speak up, you're going to
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get fired or you will have your hours cut. how did the people that you work with, how did a look at that situation? do they see a situation where they can create a working environment that not only pays well but gives employees a feeling of the -- a stake in the company and to the feeling that they are not going to lose their jobs if they propose something that is not the standard? >> our members are constantly speaking to employees about the benefits, how to rise in the company, how to achieve the american dream and that is the job of the employer, to create -- to create the conditions for employers to achieve this. that is happening all the time. this conversation should be ongoing. >> i am wondering if you think there should be a difference between how this issue is treated when you're thinking about bigger and smaller companies. there is a very big difference
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between amazon and the bargaining power they have over employees then perhaps the small business. >> amazon just won the union election in alabama because they had a compelling argument to the employees about how they should be able to stay in amazon. the union did not and they lost the election by a two to one ratio. it is the employer and the benefits they're offering. >> we really appreciate your time and perspective there. chairwoman of the coalition for a democratic workplace and i know romain always likes to go with this but the next segment will be our final thought so stick with us. this is bloomberg. ♪
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>> another look at the labor markets today. this from the perspective of
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union workers and the unionizing average we have seen here. an outgrowth partly of the pandemic and we have to say it right out. an outgrowth of the inner qualities that have built up over the years between the workers and the companies they work for, the executives they work for. a lot of people look at that and say that has to be something better or the unions are the answer. knows? that is -- who knows question mark -- who knows? >> that conversation has molded into a president talking about not good jobs with good union jobs. all of this folded into a post-pandemic world where this is what we are talking about. when you look at the number between the ceo pay and the median worker pay, we will see what it looks like after profits have ballooned so much. >> there is a larger political discussion. we will not have it on the show about how unions became a dirty
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word and the pushback to them and how the private sector is looking at the private sector. who knows? quite bloomberg technology is up next here in the u.s.. >> have a wonderful evening, this is bloomberg. ♪
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>> from the heart of where innovation, money and power collide, in silicon valley and beyond, this is bloomberg technology with emily chang. >> i am emily chang in san francisco. intel revved up plans to speed up its self driving car business. they could generate billions for the lagging chipmaker.

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