Critics Corner with Vinnie Vernuccio

Oct 07, 2021

In this episode, Vinnie Vernuccio joins Oren in the Critics Corner to discuss issues with labor policy today, debating whether American workers would benefit more from collective action or individual flexibility. Vinnie is the president of the Institute for the American Worker and a senior fellow at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

About Critics Corner

Today’s public policy debates consist primarily of people conversing within their own echo chambers while tuning out disagreement. To make progress on contentious issues, we need to better understand opposing perspectives, clarify points of agreement and disagreement, and collaborate on finding a constructive path forward. American Compass has no shortage of critics, so we figured, let’s have them on a show.

Critics Corner brings together those who disagree—whether on fundamental questions or specific policies—in the spirit of American Compass’s commitment to combining intellectual combat with personal civility. Neither debate nor interview, it’s a conversation between people eager to identify the source of their disagreements and the potential for common ground.

Transcript

Oren Cass: Vinnie, thanks so much for joining us on Critics Corner.

Vinnie Vernuccio: Oren, hey! Thanks again for having me.

Oren Cass: I think this is going to be a fun discussion. We’ve had chances to talk in other contexts as well, and I’ve always found it really interesting to sort of exchange views on issues related to organized labor, where I think we have a bunch of points of agreement and some of the disagreement that I would love to dig into further. I guess it’s probably worth just saying at the outset that the place where we probably agree most is big labor as it’s operating today is quite dysfunctional and not something we should be looking to prop up or emulate further. But then, I think there are a lot of questions of, well, “Where do we go from there?”

And American compass has put out a lot of work arguing that, at least in principle, a strong labor movement, more opportunities for worker representation and voice in the workplace in bargaining collectively with employers, in playing a role in civil society, could be incredibly important and valuable, and that to get there is going to require policy reform and legal infrastructure that supports workers in doing that. But why don’t you sort of start us off with a general sense of what your views are here, what you’d want to see and what also concerns you.

Vinnie Vernuccio: Yeah. Hey, thanks, Oren. And once again, thanks to you and thanks to American Compass for giving me this opportunity. I do think that we have a lot of overlap, whether it’s the work I do with the Mackinac Center or as president of the Institute for the American Worker, that the current labor law is stale. It was designed for a one-size-fits-all type of collective bargaining that was at the height of the industrial revolution and unions have adapted to make that their model. And I think that, and I think you would agree that that is antiquated and has to be changed, where I think we come to disagreement is where it goes from here. At the heart of our views is that unions should be voluntary professional service organizations, they couldn’t provide great value for workers, they can also provide great value for employers, but if they’re voluntary and if they’re focused on essentially workplace harmony, individual customized contracts, that aren’t one-size-fits-all. So I’m really excited to get into this with you and chat about where we have similarities, but also where I think we might be able to go differently.

Oren Cass: Great. So let’s talk about the sort of voluntary union and what it means for kind of individualized contracts versus collective bargaining. It seems to me that collective action, on the part of workers, is incredibly important if they’re going to, essentially exert any power, and be on a sort of equal playing field with the employers that they’re bargaining with. And this is sort of, at least one vein of thinking in labor economics, that goes all the way back to Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, who emphasized that the isolated worker is at a real disadvantage in bargaining with an employer. And so, in my mind, actually having that essentially collective mechanism, which means solving a collective action problem, telling the employer, “No, you have to deal with these workers, as a unit in a sense.” Is incredibly important to creating that worker power. Is your view that we can have the worker power without it, or that the costs outweigh the benefits? How would you want to see it playing out?

Vinnie Vernuccio: Yeah. I think you’re absolutely correct in saying that a lot of where labor law in this collective action is based is, off of thinkers that were hundreds of years old and essentially created for the 1930s Industrial Revolution. I would disagree and say that today workers were more independent, and they want to be treated independently and rewarded for how hard they work or how productive they are, how much they can help their employer. No, that’s not to say that there can’t be units or there shouldn’t be units, but the problem is when you treat all workers like they’re interchangeable cogs on an assembly line, which is essentially what current labor law was designed to do, that is kind of not being able to be responsive to the current modern workforce. So that, in conjunction with forcing representation on workers that may not want it, forcing negotiation on employers that don’t want it.

And frankly, even forcing unions to represent workers that don’t want to pay or don’t want to accept that representation, that’s the problem. And the question is where do we go from here? And I think there are models that dip their toe in the water now, like entertainment unions or sports unions that have a base contract, but then you can go above and beyond that with increased pay or specific types of work rules. But that’s not where the unions are going, and that’s not where the one-size-fits-all collective bargaining ideas are going. It’s actually going to expand collective bargaining to even more workers that may not want it through in things like sectorial bargaining. So unions acting as professional service organizations, where everything is voluntary, can represent large swaths of workers. But the difference, I think, between where American Compass or you come at it and where I come at it, is that unions should be providing these services that employers want to work with them and employees want to pay for. And if they do that, that’s how they stem their decline and expand in the future.

Oren Cass: Right. It’s interesting that you start with the examples of say entertainers and sports, because of course, actors and athletes are quite unique in the extent to which that they truly are kind of individual personalities, in many cases earning hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars a year. And I certainly see your point that in that context, the sort of voluntary, very flexible case-by-case arrangement makes sense, but let’s say we’re talking about janitors in New York City and we’re concerned or interested in the wages that those janitors earn. If thinking about kind of all the different ways that those wages could be set. At one extreme, you have sort of just individuals in the marketplace, so janitors can take or not take jobs offered or ask for raises or not, and employers offer what they want.

At the other extreme, of course you would have just federal regulation or state city regulation, and you would just have a law saying, “You must pay everybody X.” And then, in between, we start to get these gradations where I take it, you’re saying, “Well, you could have a voluntary union that janitors could sign up for if they want.” You could have something like traditional unions we have today. You could have what I’ve described in terms of sectoral bargaining, where the janitors, there would be a representative or janitors negotiating with a representative for employers of janitors. In the voluntary model, if an employer says, “Well, I’m not engaged in that bargaining. I’m just going to offer X.” How does that work for the janitors? So janitors can choose to be in a union that’s going… I guess, I’m just trying to make it concrete, how does the bargaining actually happen if voluntary union construct?

Vinnie Vernuccio: Absolutely, and before we get there, janitors are a good example, but I don’t know if janitors are the future of the workforce. Obviously, there will always be janitors and there will always be the need for that traditional type of workforce, but where we’re vastly seeing expansion and changes or things like independent contracting, like the gig economy where, frankly, I think those, and the emerging workforce now of millennials and the generation after millennials, want to be treated more like sports or entertainment. They see their own value, and they see that as an individual, they want a customized set of work rules, or they want to be rewarded for how productive they are. So I would say, if you’re looking at the future of work, it’s probably closer to that customized sports entertainment worker as it is to your mid-20th century or early 20th-century factory worker.

Oren Cass: Well, actually, before we go to janitors, let’s dive in on that because that’s a really interesting point that I think obviously swerving, if we have different assumptions about that, we’re obviously going to have sort of then land in different places on the framework for it. I’m struggling to reconcile that sort of very aspirational description of the future of the labor market with what I see in the actual data, which is two things. One, we just did a big survey of worker attitudes at American Compass and people say generally… Yes, absolutely, there are some who like the independent contractor or gig economy model, but the vast majority say that they would prefer a more traditional full-time or part-time arrangement. And then, when I look at just where job growth, certainly where the jobs are, but even where the job growth is, it’s in things like, it’s certainly in the service sector, it’s in things like restaurant service work, healthcare service, home health aids, janitorial services.

And so, just thinking about kind of, particularly if I were to define workers about whom we might be concerned, given their economic outcomes today, say those without a college degree. In a lot of cases, it seems to me that, forget 80, 20, maybe 90, 95% are still going to be, that the jobs that exist for them, the skills that they’re likely to have, in the next few decades, at least, and what they say they want is overwhelmingly more the janitor model than the athlete model. So I guess I’d just be curious, what are the examples for that segment of the labor market that are actually going to look more like the entertainer or the athlete?

Vinnie Vernuccio: Well, I think you’re seeing that with independent contract. And you look at the surveys that talk about independent contractors and gig economy workers, and by large, they say that, this is one of the largest growing segments of the workforce. And one of the main things that those contractors or those freelancers or gig economy workers say they value most of all is flexibility. And that is one of the chief issues that you have with this one-size-fits-all bargaining is that, there are exceptions and I’m not going to say it’s a blanket rule, but for the most part, collective bargaining agreements are one-size-fits-all.

That’s, here’s your set of work rules, here is what you have to accept as a worker. And this is as an employer what you also have to provide, no greater, no lower. Many collective bargaining agreements, not only have a floor on wages, but they also have a ceiling. That’s why you have, senators like Senator Rubio that have introduced the RAISE act to say, “No, there shouldn’t be a ceiling on collective bargaining agreements.” So, you’re talking about one of the fastest-growing segments of the workforce, and they’re constantly saying, “Well, the reason that we like this arrangement is because of flexibility.” And I think that is a stark departure of what we saw last century and where collective bargaining is from last century.

Oren Cass: But, let’s be concrete. So are we talking about Uber drivers? What is this burgeoning class of happy, flexible, independent contractors?

Vinnie Vernuccio: You are talking about the gig economy, which does include Uber drivers. It’s definitely not by and large exclusive to Uber drivers. You’re talking about freelance writers, consultants, you’re talking about gig economy workers–

Oren Cass: I really want to focus on the sort of less than a college degree, majority of the workforce. So maybe there are some freelance writers and consultants there, but I think that would certainly be the outlier.

Vinnie Vernuccio: You look at where California, with AB5, really harmed independent contract. Now there’s carve-outs everywhere, including the ballot proposal, that’s still under litigation, but for a lot of people that were affected, especially before the carve-outs, and frankly, you can look at the long list that even the bill sponsor supported for those carve-outs. A lot of those were with college degrees or we’re kind of those more intellectual workers, by large, no, we’re not talking exclusively about workers with a college degree, and I completely agree with you if that’s where you’re going, that for a lot of very good-paying jobs, you probably don’t need a college degree, but that might be a conversation for another time.

But what I am saying is that, college degree or not, workers today value that type of flexibility. And that’s just not what we’re seeing with the 20th century, early 20th-century union model. And, that’s where I see this eventually migrating over, and it’s not just one-size-fits-all, moving to customized contracts. It’s also having unions be professional service organizations that are moving away from that adversarial relationship, but providing a good service that employers want and employees want to pay for. So it’s more workplace harmony.

Oren Cass: Yeah. No, I think that’s a great point about the services and certainly having those kinds of organizations that can provide them is a huge part of what’s missing today. And I think we agree, we want to see more of. I’m tempted either to go back to the janitor example now or talk Uber drivers further. I don’t know, where should we go?

Vinnie Vernuccio: I would love to go back to the janitor example, because frankly, or at full disclosure, I don’t think I answered that fully yet. And I would love to go back there and have a back and forth with you.

Oren Cass: Yeah. Okay, so let’s talk about the janitor example. If you were to describe your ideal, how do you want to see the labor market operating for janitors in New York City and what sorts of collective action or bargaining should or shouldn’t be available to them or ideally would be operating or not?

Vinnie Vernuccio: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m going to take a prerogative and before I do, I will admit it may be unfair to look at the job market right now, because there is a very high demand side, and the supply side in the job market, as we’re speaking, is very low. But let’s look at the job market right now. Employers are absolutely desperate for workers and you see worker shortages across the country. You’re also seeing runaway inflation where, the Fight For 15 and the $15 minimum wage movement, is basically making itself moot because inflation is going well past that, and employers are desperate to get workers and you see sign-on bonuses and you see them raising wages to try to attract workers because that demand is so high. So let’s take New York, for example, call it a 21st-century unionism approach for janitors.

Vinnie Vernuccio: Employers are desperate for workers. They know they can go to, let’s say the UFCW or, name your union here and say, “Okay, we have a shortage. We know that you have a lot of contacts. We know that you have a lot of union members or workers that you can provide us. So we want to go to you for the one-stop-shop.” So what’s the value for the employer? Let’s say the employer doesn’t want to provide health insurance, or they don’t want to deal with retirement plans. They could essentially use the union as an HR shop, if they want to do so voluntarily. But once again, it’s not saying you have to, the UFCW’s general push towards corporate campaigns of forcing an employer in, it’s simply, “Hey, we have a good product. We have good workers. Use us.”

Now, when it comes to the individual janitor, let’s say that janitor is a UFCW member, UFCW calls, “Hey, there is company X, Y, or Z that needs work. Are you interested?” Now, once again, UFCW is acting like a professional service organization, getting that janitor work and they value that and they value the protection that UFCW gives them as far as services provided such as insurance or health insurance. I know one of the things we may talk about is the Ghent model of unemployment insurance, and they’re willing to pay for that. So from an employer standpoint, you have the employer essentially using the union as a voluntary HR arm.

And, let’s go a step up from janitors or even staying with janitors, if UFCW has those janitors bonded and insured, and let’s say it’s a special type of janitor where they need special type training that UFCW is providing, it’s that one-stop shop voluntarily for the employer, from the janitors. And they’re getting those protections, they’re getting the job connections, and they’re getting that representation. So that, would be kind of the ideal. And frankly, right now, it’s something that would be very useful for employers. And then both for workers to say, “Okay, our workers are starting at X wage, but if they want to negotiate a contract, here’s the baseline.” But they can earn more if they do more or they’re more productive and they can also have more flexibility. So it’s not that one-size-fits-all.

Oren Cass: No, I think that’s a great point about the labor market today and underscores the reality that, to the extent, we like the idea of worker power, there’s nothing like a tight labor market to ensure that workers have that power in the labor market. I guess, what if we fast forward, say three or four years, and we’re into the next economic downturn, it doesn’t need to be a great financial crisis. We’re just, there’s a business cycle and we’re on the other side of the business cycle. What happens to that janitor band, and the employer says, “All right, we’re laying off X percent or just, sorry, we’re going to have to cut everybody’s pay 20%.”

Vinnie Vernuccio: Well, let’s go to the example of, let’s say teachers’ unions there and-

Oren Cass: Well, that’s public sector though. So let’s say private sector.

Vinnie Vernuccio: Okay. Well, what I was doing, I was going to last in, first out.

Oren Cass: Okay.

Vinnie Vernuccio: So, if there is a downturn and this is, once again, where those individualized contracts and the unions as professional service organizations would come into play. And frankly, I think one of the big mistakes that is in a lot of collective bargaining agreements now, which is the rigid seniority system. And teachers unions, it is public sector, but I think it gives the perfect example where you have the teacher of the year let go in a layoff, because there’s budget cuts, in exchange for somebody that simply has been there longer, whether or not they’re a better teacher or not. So if there is a downturn, those individual employees, if they’re doing a good job, if they are productive, should not have to worry.

Well, I’ve only had two months on the job and no matter how hard I work, no matter what I do, I’m going to be laid off because of budget cuts, because I’m under a union seniority contract. Now, if you want to go back to the insurance issue, maybe that is another example of where unions could provide value, could provide voluntary value if they’re doing things like providing that unemployment insurance or things like that. So yeah, it works both when there’s a huge demand side of the economy, but it also works if there’s a larger supply side where you still have workers that know that, the harder I work, the better I do, the more I’m going to be rewarded, and I’m not going to have to worry about losing my job because the collective bargaining agreement says so.

Oren Cass: Yeah. It’s interesting. I guess one sort of partly factual question is, to what extent, in relatively lower-wage jobs in the service sector, are people recognized for free individual performance and pay differentially and so forth? One thing we were struck by in the survey, that we did recently, is the extent to which people say that they have essentially never negotiated any term or condition of employment with their employer on an individual basis. And so, is it your sense that, that actually is happening a lot or that employers are taking the prerogative to differentiate janitorial productivity and pay differently accordingly?

Vinnie Vernuccio: Yeah. There’s no universal answer, but I think by large, employers know which employees are doing a really good job and who they will definitely fight for and make sure they want to keep versus those that are kind of just skating by. And, I wouldn’t want to sell employers short saying that, no, they look at their entire workforce as a one-size-fits-all monolith, and every janitor is producing exactly the same or is cleaning exactly the same. And it’s giving employers that opportunity to say, “You’re doing a really good job. I want to make sure that you are rewarded for it.” And that is key. And maybe that is something where a voluntary union can come into play, where the union doesn’t have to represent, have to organize 50% plus one, but a good janitor or a good employee or worker can say, “Well, you know what, I want you to go to my employer and get me those negotiated contracts.”

And if the employee is doing a good job and especially in today’s labor market, employers will say, “Okay, I voluntarily want to work with you.” But unlike today, there isn’t that mandate of, I have to, there isn’t that exclusive representation, that duty to bargain in good faith and all the other things that come-

Oren Cass: Right.

Vinnie Vernuccio: … from the labor laws of the last century. So it really does come down to providing value and voluntary services that all boats rise together, increase workplace harmony, and have customized contracts or customized collective bargaining.

Oren Cass: Yeah. And so if we’re in that looser labor market, would we expect employers at that point to say, “Well, I’m not going to hire you if you’re part of the voluntary union.” It’s one thing if they’re desperate for workers, but in a more sort of typical labor market, what is the employer incentive, if any, to choose to hire through this union that might come with additional constraints on them or higher pay over just saying, “Well, I’m only going to hire people who are not in the union?”

Vinnie Vernuccio: Oh, I’ll give you a perfect example. So I’m changing it a little bit. The IBEW, the Electrical Workers Union. When I was working on this study for the Mackinac Center, 21st Century Unionism, I was actually able to go down there and tour their facility, outside of Detroit, Michigan. And this thing was top-notch state of the art. The IBEW members were doing “earn while you learn” so they weren’t going into, six-figure college debt, but they were getting an education and know that they could get a really good job coming out of the IBEW training. And frankly, while they were apprentices, they also got paid to do that work and also to learn and be on the job and assist master electricians. Now from an employer standpoint, electricity is dangerous, and you want someone that knows what they’re doing, knows how to operate.

And you know that the training that the IBEW provided their members, means that their members are working and creating things and building those electrical outlets, grids, in a safe and secure manner. So you’re able to go to the IBEW and say, “Okay, I want someone that is licensed, they are insured, they know what they’re doing, and I can feel confident that we’re not going to have an electrical fire because we hired someone that doesn’t have the hours, or there’s no one standing behind them.” So from an employer standpoint, it’s being able to, once again, use the union as an HR arm, or as basically, the good housekeeping seal of approval saying, “Our members have gone through X amount of training. We stand behind them. We know that they know what they’re doing, and you can rest assured, especially if they’re doing dangerous work, like working with electricity, that you can feel safe.”

Oren Cass: No, that makes total sense. And I think the building trades are the quintessential example of where this works well. Exactly because as you just said, it’s dangerous. Those are our very skilled trades. But it seems to me, obviously, that is saying that does not exist today for less-skilled service work, janitor, let’s say, fast food. So in that context, is the idea that the voluntary janitor union is going to provide sort of higher levels of training and value that employers, therefore, are going to want to pay more for? I guess, I could see it. It’s just, it’s certainly not something that exists today, although it could, right? We sort of have the empirical evidence that yes, people do that, when it comes to electricians because it’s important and no, people don’t do it when it comes to janitors. So why would that change?

Vinnie Vernuccio: Well, it’s not just training, but it’s also once again, the HR arm, especially right now with the need for workers being able to go to a one-stop shop and saying, “Hey, could you provide us…” Almost like a recruiting firm, “Could you provide us with employees that can do, whether is janitorial services or working in fast food.” But once again, the difference between the way we’re looking at collective bargaining today is one-size-fits-all. And it’s, this employee is part of a union, if we hire this employee, we have to deal with a union.

Where I think unions can thrive and change is that no, the worker is part of the union and maybe getting services from the union, but the employer does not have to deal with a union if they don’t want to. So going back to your “what if there is a downturn to the economy,” you have a fast-food worker or a janitor, maybe they’re paying into the union insurance. The employer says, “I don’t want to negotiate with this union.” It doesn’t mean that the worker can’t be part of the union or can’t get those services from the union. It just means that they can’t force the employer to negotiate.

Oren Cass: And so, in that context, where we don’t have a very tight labor market, where is the worker power coming from?

Vinnie Vernuccio: The worker power is once again, coming from their individuality, what they can provide to the employer. Just like it works in the 87% of the economy today that’s not represented by a union. The problem is that, once you start doubling down on the old ways of the past, and I think that’s what we’re seeing with sectoral bargaining and some of the other proposals that are out there, that you’re starting to hamstring yourself into that one-size-fits-all bargaining that employers are again, not rail against resist, unfortunately, and I would hate to see this happen, actually move companies offshore because they don’t want to deal with the rigid work rules of a collective bargaining agreement, regardless of how good the workers are. So it’s about putting the worker as the centerpiece and the union providing either the worker or the employer voluntary services, as opposed to having the collective bargaining agreement or the union as the centerpiece.

Oren Cass: Right. I guess, yeah. My concern with that is just that it seems to have… It essentially seems to reject the idea of labor or a union as a provider of worker power. That is, you’re saying in the current environment, where we have a very tight labor market and workers have a lot of power, then yes, they will have some of that power, and looser labor market where workers tend to have less power, it’s important that the union not provide them any greater power.

And so, I take your point about the upsides and downsides of one-size-fits-all. And probably why employers wouldn’t like that. I guess, I’m left to wonder, is there anything else that we can provide workers or that you would want to provide workers that gives them more power when the business cycle isn’t? That is that, if we say, there’s something we like about the current environment with a tight labor market, do we want to create that same effect for workers all the time? Or do we want to say, “Well, on other parts of the business cycle, we want to make sure that the worker power sort of ebbs as well?”

Vinnie Vernuccio: Within the tight labor market, I think flexibility is also key. Flexibility, not just for the employer, but for the employee. And unfortunately, what you see, and this is at the heart of many collective bargaining agreements, is defined benefit pensions, where you have to vest, give your 20, 30 years to what may be a vastly underfunded pension plan. And, I’m thinking of pension plans like the Teamsters pension plan, which just needed a massive taxpayer bailout. But the problem is, if you leave the Teamsters represented workforce, and you haven’t put your 30 in or your 20 in or whatever the vesting is, you’re going to lose that. So if you’re talking about, even in a downturn can help workers, I’m not looking at it from a massive collective, one-size-fits-all.

I’m thinking of the individual worker, and for them flexibility is key and saying, “Okay, now they have…” Maybe it is a union-provided annuity or 401k plan, defined contribution plan, where they can take that with them from job to job. Frankly, like we see in some of the building trades, which may be more on the DB plan, but still have that flexible arrangement. So it is coming down to that flexibility, which unfortunately is the antithesis of what we’ve seen with most collective bargaining agreements, and which is vastly different than what we saw in the early 20th century when all these labor laws were enacted where you had workers that essentially took a job and knew they were going to be there for the next 20 to 30 years.

Oren Cass: Yeah. No, I think the flexibility point is a good one. We are running out of time, so I guess I’ll put one final question to you thinking about what any of this would mean in terms of actual policy reform. I think there are obviously those parts of the existing labor law that you don’t like, that you see as inflexible, that you would want to see sort of opened up or relaxed in various ways. Are there any things that you would want to see, any particular proposal that you would say sort of shifts the balance of power from employers towards workers?

Vinnie Vernuccio: There’s a lot there that give workers input and would create more voluntary types of unionism. Right now, unions can do a lot of what we were just talking about with members-only agreements, the catch is that they lose the compulsion and they lose exclusive representation and they don’t have the one-size-fits-all and they can’t force employers to negotiate with them. But a lot of this could be embraced on a members-only aspect, but with one caveat, that what we’re seeing with members-only is things like the advent of worker centers, which are being used to essentially pressure companies into traditional unionization through within called corporate campaigns. But what aspects do I see that could change? There’s a concept that I’ve been working on called workers choice that essentially lets workers opt out of union representation, opt out of that exclusive representation.

And do what we’re talking about, work with them, work with employers themselves and act like the vast majority of the rest of the economy that is not under union representation. That could be done for public employees at a state level. It would have to be done, but at a federal level, through Congress for private-sector employers. I think there’s a lot of opportunities to have employee involvement committees, as long as they’re not mandatory. I know that there are things like the TEAM act, which was passed in the 1990s. I know there’s been some discussion on recently giving employees that opportunity to work with employers, but once again, on a completely voluntary basis, as opposed to the structured one-size-fits-all basis that we’re seeing with unionization. So I know we’re running out of time, but there’s more examples, happy to get some more ideas, but don’t want to filibuster you.

Oren Cass: No, that’s great. I guess, just to sort of put a finer point on it, are any of those things that you see as sort of shifting power from employers toward workers or really boosting worker power vis-a-vis employers?

Vinnie Vernuccio: They are, the individual being able to negotiate their own contract, giving employees input. I do want to just kind of address the concept that it’s an either, or. It’s either employer power or employee power. As corporations do better, as businesses do better, as job creators do better, that’s better for their employees. So I think it is a little bit of a misnomer to say it’s either, or. It’s either the employers have all the power or the employees have all the power. And I think, the beauty of where the kind of the right comes at this in the free market is that, as job creators do better, there’s more opportunity for employees.

And frankly, if you’re working for an employer that is not giving you benefits or is not rewarding you for how hard you work, the idea is to make sure that the economy is expanding enough, where you can go to another job. And if we’re talking about portable benefits, we’re talking about things that unions may be able to provide. If we start getting away from that 20th-century model, that empowers employees, but it’s definitely not either-or employers do well or employees do well, all boats can lift together.

Oren Cass: All right, we will leave it there. Vinnie Vernuccio, thank you so much for joining us and for all the work that you are doing on this topic, looking forward to many more discussions to come.

Vinnie Vernuccio: Okay, Oren. Thank you again for having me and look forward to continuing the discussion.

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