On-shoring jobs are smoke and mirrors. On-shoring is not the
economic stability factor the US has been looking for. It’s a false storm of low paid, unequal jobs
that will exacerbate the employment tribulations for women in the Southern
United States. Eventually, these low paid and disposable employment positions
will infiltrate the rest of America. We
must not expand the horrific numbers of already working poor.
The United States manufacturing sector was devastated with
the loss of 6 million off-shored jobs throughout the 80’s and 90’s5. Those same jobs, almost 700,000 have
returned through what we refer to as on-shoring5. Like an aftershock of a tsunami, that second
wave returns to our shores with more destruction. The highly anticipated return of jobs from
manufacturing to IT service professionals poses a greater obstacle to labor,
especially for women. On-shored jobs are
directed to the “right to work” Southern states where a higher percentage of
women are historically paid less.
According to Harvard Business Review, on-shore salaries are 35% lower
than the average American salary due to their specific placement in the
Southern states3. General
Motors, a prime example of de-unionization devastation, brought 3,000 jobs back
to America to manufacture a new Cadillac5. This manufacturing is in their Tennessee
plant with no union and no benefits.
These are examples of on-shoring’s false growth. If on-shoring continues to grow in “right to
work” states the ability for women to work out of poverty, increase their
health and attain educational opportunities will be detrimentally affected
without increasing union organizing.
On-shoring exacerbates unequal pay. As an example, women in
Tennessee make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes2. To confound this situation, Tennessee has one
of the lowest mean wages in the US4. Lower wages create a distinct
obstacle for women to work themselves out of poverty. Over 30% of American families with single
mothers as head of household live below the poverty line1. Unionized women have the increased ability to
attain middle-class status for themselves and families through higher wages and
equal wages. This includes buying
houses, sending children to college and always having food on the table. When women can support their families it
profoundly affects all aspects of American life. Capitalism cannot flourish if it’s not fed,
women and equal and higher wages are a key to the cycle. Unionization is the safety net for women in employment,
not just on-shoring jobs.
A particular problem
for women in the workforce is health insurance. In America we correlate infant
mortality with health insurance. If we
look at Tennessee a “right to work” state, we see they have a very high infant
mortality rate with 8 deaths per 1,000 births4. The fourth highest
infant mortality rate in America. As a
comparative example, New Hampshire a union friendly state, has the lowest
infant mortality rate in the US4. On-shored positions are considered
temporary and seasonal usually meaning no benefits such as health insurance or
a permanent vacation schedule. Women on
the job must have these benefits as cancer and heart disease continue an
increase in women besides pregnancy and family obligations. A workforce with a union benefits the entire
workforce system. When women workers and
their families are healthy, absenteeism declines and production increases. Unionization of the on-shoring jobs is
unionization of more women. This creates
a healthy future for the nation.
Educational attainment is a key resource for financial
stability. Union jobs encourage and may
require employees to be educated on their particular jobs, including
re-training, long-term training, courses for promotion and certifications/college
courses/degrees. In unions, the majority
of education is based on seniority and skill.
In “right to work” state jobs this safety feature is not available. This creates an unequal opportunity for women
to be educated and promoted. These women
are left at the bottom of the wage and position scale without the equality
inherent in unions. These situations
confound, manipulate and endorse the working poor status of women and their
families. Unions stand for women’s
empowerment through education.
Unionize to survive this threat. Women’s empowerment is maintained and
increased through unionization. The
fight for unions must continue in the South and in “right to work” states to
stabilize the nation’s women.
1Hess, Amanda. “30% of Single Moms are Living in
Poverty”. Slate.com. 919 September
2National Partnership for Women and
Families. Fact Sheet.
April 2014. http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/workplace-fairness/fair-pay/2014-tn-wage-gap.pdf.
3Pande, Aditya. “How to Make On-Shoring Work”. Harvard
Business Review. March 2011. https://hbr.org/2011/03/how-to-make-onshoring-work/ar/1.
4Rust, Max. “What “Right to Work” States Look Like”. Chicago Sun-Times. 6 September 2015: 12.
5Semuels, Alana. “Good Jobs Aren’t Coming Back”. The Atlantic. 26 October 2015. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/onshoring-jobs/412201/.