Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio.
At the top off the third hour, Carmichael discussed the concept of gig workers and the unionization of this new group of people who typically identify as independent contractors. He added that the unions are only designed to collect union dues from workers and are not interested in the welfare of the members.
Leahy: Crom it is seven weeks and six days until the November 3 election. And mercifully the unions out there are helping everyone, Crom, because they are so kind and generous. I saw a report we were talking about during the break that they are out there helping protect gig workers from flexibility.
Carmichael: They are trying to. (Leahy laughs) And this is what is going on in California, where the state of California is trying to force Uber drivers and Lyft drivers to be part of a union. Now here’s what the so-called trade-off is. And I say so-called because of the stability that unions in the private sector offer, exist only so long as the companies that are unionized stay in business.
And if you look at the long history of labor unions, unfortunately, the record is that over time they over bargain and destroy the very companies that employ their union members. I don’t know if every single car company in the US the big three, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, I think each at one time or another has gone bankrupt. And then only in bankruptcy were they able to re-organize their union contracts.
The steelworkers bankrupted virtually every large steel mill in the country back in the 70s and 80s. And the communications workers of America only were able to survive as long as AT&T was a monopoly and the government restrained all of the possible competitors. And then once AT&T was broken up, then the communications workers became, I don’t even know if they exist.
Leahy: I think they still exist.
Carmichael: And they are very small. So the history of private sector unions is they benefit workers for a period of time, and then they end up destroying the workplace at a particular point in time. But unions are now trying to organize what are called gig workers. And gig workers’ definition is people who work as independent contractors for one or more companies. And usually, it’s the more.
For example, I do Uber but I will almost always ask the Uber driver, do you also do Lyft? And they almost always say, oh yes, I’m also a Lyft driver. And then we’ll get into a conversation of which one works better for them, because I’m just kind of interested. And then I’ll ask questions of whether it’s a full-time job or a part-time job. Most of the time its a part-time job.
Leahy: It’s extra money.
Leahy: Most of the time it’s extra money for people who are industrious who want to advance their condition in life. Pay the bills.
Carmichael: Yes. And so that would be an example. Then you also have independent contractors who do technology work.
Leahy: A lot.
Carmichael: A lot of those.
Leahy: And a lot of people who are in technology prefer to be independent contractors and not employees. Because if you are an employee, there is a whole set of rules you have to follow. If you are an independent contractor’ you are contracted to perform particular tasks. So it allows you to control your time much better as an independent contractor.
Carmichael: If you bid on a technology job, then you are essentially required to finish the job within the bid.
Carmichael: So you have to figure out how many hours you think it’s going to take you or your team. A lot of times these are small teams of people who bid on different contracts. And then you have staffing firms like right here in Nashville. You have Vaco Resources. One of the premier staffing firms.
Leahy: A great company, I hear.
Carmichael: I was one of the earliest investors.
Leahy: I recall that.
Carmichael: Great guys. Great guys. They have what they call consultants. They are typically people with particular financial skills. Then they have people with a particular technical skill. Then you have people with particular skills to do work for short periods of time. So they will call a staffing firm like Vaco to do that. The largest one in that space is a company called Robert Half. They are an international company.
Leahy: A very well-known company.
Carmichael: These consultants are well-paid. These are people who prefer to not work for one company because of all…
Leahy: Spread the risk?
Carmichael: Not so much spread the risk, but they want their own flexibility. They want to be able to tell Vaco, I don’t want to work this summer. So gig workers like the flexibility and the Democrats want the union dues. The Democrats don’t care a bit about the lifestyle of the gig workers. They only want the money. They just want the money.
Leahy: It’s all about the money.
Carmichael: For them, it really is.
Listen to the full third hour here:
– – –
Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Lyft Uber Car” by Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine CC1.0