After standing on the sidelines of the media-hyped so-called strike and walk-out (15 possible workers and 100 union officials and W.F.P. organizers) by fast food workers, it might be time to remind those singing tub-thumpers of Hartford's real problem.
Our most pressing problem that affects the poor and working poor in Hartford is our high tax rate - 74.29 mills - that is ruining the chances for any opportunity for all of our citizens. We know of a company with over 70 jobs offering good wages with benefits (non-union) that must expand to keep up with its competition (if not, no jobs for anyone). That company cannot stay in Hartford with our taxation rate. Its trucks are taxed at more than twice the rate of neighboring towns.
Also, to make things even worse for the poor and low-income is the startling increase of taxes on apartment buildings. Soon, taxes on apartments will be doubled compared to 1-3 family units. Rant against landlords all you want but they will not invest in, or keep, living units that lose money. Rents will have to go up, and the fast food workers will pay or be on the street.
Now, most of us agree that wages for hard-working fast food workers are too low and inflation has moved faster than wage levels. However, a drastic increase to say $15.00 an hour could lead to:
• Higher price for servings (the poor pay more again) leading to less business and fewer jobs.
• Fewer entry level job opportunities through automation (the poor lose again, Leo Canty was right for once last Sunday)
• Higher pay will draw older people, college students and housewives into the market. Sorry, no room for newcomers to the job market.
• Smaller dividends for union pension funds, teacher retirement investments and elderly retirees.
So, singers and tub-thumpers, have you thought out the consequences? Or are union dues the object after all?