LETTER: Unions would force pay up

December 3, 2016

In response to IBJ’s Nov. 26 editorial, I continue to be dumbfounded by the inexplicable absence of the actual causes of poverty in this analysis [Poverty report is wake-up call]. There are no more middle-class jobs in Indianapolis!

The predominantly unionized manufacturing base has left for the most part, only to be replaced by the tens of thousands of low-wage hospitality and food service jobs.

Fixing poverty in Indianapolis is not rocket science. If the hospitality and convention industry workforce were allowed to unionize and negotiate for a decent standard of living (which would still leave plenty of room for profitable companies), then we would most certainly see poverty rates decrease.

I don’t believe that city leaders are this obtuse. I think they know that tackling this particular challenge of unionizing the Indy hospitality industry would in fact solve our poverty problem. They don’t dare though because of fear—fear that if they stop giving tax breaks to big developers and instead demand that they provide the city with decent, family-sustaining jobs that they may leave town, instead choose to build the convention industry in any number of neighboring Midwest options—Columbus, Kansas City, St Louis, Louisville.

And that fear may actually be correct. But let’s at least not pretend like we don’t all know what the problem is and how to fix it.

Mike Biskar

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