[OPE-L:2928] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: starting point and capital

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Fri Apr 28 2000 - 14:14:59 EDT

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Dear Jerry,
I think you raise an important question. The 'formalistic difference' to
which I was referring dealt not with national income accounting but Federal
Law under which the formally independent contractors are disallowed from
unionizing. In the NYT article (4/15/00, p. A7--if you can access it, I
would be interested in your thoughts), the reporter Stephen Greenhouse
notes that port truckers have gone from being unionized drivers with
impressive wages and benefits to being new non union competitors who are
independent contractors. Now I am wondering whether this de jure change in
any way means that that they are not still producing surplus value--though
now it falls entirely to the warehouse, insurance and banking companies,
not direct employers. I only take the low wage as suggestive of continued
exploitation, not proof. But your challenge is an important one.

Apparently invoking some kind of anti monopoly law, The Feds have also
latched on to this change in status to frustrate a unionization drive of
port truckers whose rebellions in Long Beach, Houston, Miami, Newark and
Seattle seem to me to stand at the front line of class struggle in a
"globalized" economy.

We know that a change in status is often driven by a need to heighten
exploitation, e.g., hourly workers who are turned into salaried employees
so that the overtime that they are expected to do "on their own time" can
longer be counted.

I don't know the size of the loan that needs to be taken out to get one's
own rig, but the article notes that in the case of one worker he made
payments of $6000/yr for his truck. Most of the truckers in Long Beach are
immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

Yours, Rakesh

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