Just wanted to stash this comment somewhere I can find it easily:
For years ended March 2001-2006, total compensation for Union workers increased 3.5%, 4.5%, 4.4%, 5.6%, 3.6% and 2.7% due to increases in the costs of benefits of 3.2%, 5.1%, 6.7%, 10.6%[!], 5.6% and 2.9%.
Over the last 8 quarters, blue collar workers, as a group, have had total compensation increases of 1.7%, 1.0%, 1.3%, .8%, .6%, .8%, .6% and .1, for year on year gains of approximately 5% and 2%.
Since 2000, the number of employees with access to various benefits has increased for almost all types of benefits. For non-public employees, those with access to either defined benefit or defined contribution plans have increased from 55% to 63%. Health insurance coverage has stayed flat, 52% to 52%, although the percentage of employees required to contribute to their health insurance has increased. Short term disability coverage has increased from 34% to 39% and employer sponsored childcare has increased from 6% of the workforce to 14%.
Finally, if you look at total compensation for blue collar workers with Level 1 skills -- the lowest level -- you see that average total compensation has gone from $8.02 an hour in July 2000 to $8.97 in July 2004, a 12% increase in 4 years. Total compensation for Level 2 workers increased by 17% over the same period. Total compensation for all workers increased by 14% during the same period. Total compensation for white collar workers with Level 15 skills (i.e., the highest skilled workers with the greatest responsibilities) went from $60.58 in July 2000 to $67.25 in July 2004, an increase of 11%.
In other words, from July 2000 through July 2004, the total compensation for the least skilled workers increased at a rate about as high, or a little higher, than the average employee, and more than the most skilled employees.
(For those who care, go to bls.gov and run series NCU0099572300001, NCU0099572300002, NCU0099570000000 and NCU0099570200015 in the National Compensantion Survey.)