The president and Congress want to add middle-wage jobs, which is great, but there aren’t many of them left. In the 1970s, most of the mills closed and the jobs moved south or overseas to get rid of the union middle-class wages. In the ’80s, during the Reagan years, the air traffic controllers’ strike brought about the further dissolution of the union.
Deregulation of the airlines and trucking had two very different outcomes. The airlines started a lot of small companies and hired a lot of people — ticket takers, baggage handlers, etc. In trucking, the bigger companies, which had nice union wages, consolidated and the results were very few companies with union members making union wages. At one time there were more than 30 union trucking companies in the Pittsburgh area. How many now? All those drivers and dock workers plus the dispatchers and office personnel lost their jobs. There were a lot of manufacturing jobs in the area, but then again with consolidations, many medium-wage jobs were lost.
There were a lot of banks at one time. Again with consolidation, many were closed with another loss of decent-wage jobs. Then the insurance companies and the banks consolidated with another loss of good jobs.
After 9/11, the airlines again consolidated with only maybe four airlines instead of 20 of 20 years ago. More good mechanic and handler jobs were gone. Now PNC and the other large banks want to eliminate the tellers. These are not really high-wage jobs, but they are still jobs. Heinz, which had many jobs in the Pittsburgh area, was bought out and again more loss of good manufacturing jobs. Eventually there will be only about 10 consortiums that own everything in the world.
Maybe it’s time that the government gets back to stopping all of the consolidations and maybe we could get some good, middle-class jobs back. Just a thought.