The United States Maritime Alliance, an association of shipping companies and terminal owners, is demanding concessions on “container royalty payments,” which the companies share with union members for each ton of cargo handled. The companies want to freeze those payments for current longshoremen and eliminate them for future hires.And everybody knows that skilled workers shouldn't get "generous" wages matching their skill levels and get bonuses reflecting their productivity levels, amiright? That kind of pay is reserved for bankers and executives! Except, wait, those guys get bonuses even when they're not productive, so it's not the same.
The maritime alliance, known as USMX, says it paid $211 million in container royalties to the longshoremen last year, averaging $15,500 per eligible worker. James A. Capo, the alliance’s chairman, said that came to $10 an hour, on top of what he said were already generous wages.
It's true that there are a lot of skilled workers out there who don't make the $75,000 plus benefits and royalties that these workers make. But this is another of those moments when, if you stand against the notion that only bankers and executives and a few other privileged workers deserve to make upper-middle-class money, if you stand for the notion that skilled work deserves reward, then you need to be looking at this negotiation and asking not "why are these workers making so much" but "why aren't other skilled workers doing necessary work making anywhere near this much?"