That’s at least the implication of his piece:
Back to school time, so let’s start with a quick quiz. The minimum wage in Britain is £6.31 an hour, while in New York it’s $8 an hour, or £4.93. So who do you think’s better paid: a hotel cleaner in London or one in Manhattan? You at the back: stop Googling. At the heart of this question lies one of the most important issues in economics and politics today – who gets paid what, and how. And the answer: New York City wins.
A cleaner on London’s Park Lane will almost certainly be on or around the minimum wage, say £6.31 for each hour. Her counterpart (because, let’s face it, it’s almost always women doing this physically punishing work) on New York’s Park Avenue is likely to be on nearly three times as much: an agreed hourly rate of $28.50, or £17.66.
Sure, it’s union power. And what a union:
The other is Vito J. Pitta, a 62-year-old Sicilian-born former hotel busboy. As business manager of Local 6 of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees International Union, and president of the New York City Hotel Trades Council, Mr. Pitta has moved outside Local 6’s traditional jurisdiction, hotels, into the realm of its sister unit, Local 100, which represents restaurants. Organized Crime’s Influence
The President’s Commission on Organized Crime reported in 1986 that Locals 6 and 100 were ”influenced by organized crime” – the Colombo and Gambino families – and ”were used to dictate the way in which restaurants could do business in New York.”
This is a preliminary report on the organized crime influence in the labor unions today in the United States. The picture that it presents is thoroughly frightening. At least four international unions are completely dominated by men who either have strong ties to or are members of the organized crime syndicate. A majority of the locals in most major cities of the United States in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union (HRE), Laborers International Union of North America (Laborers), and International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) unions are completely dominated by organized crime. The officials of these unions are firmly entrenched; there is little hope of removing them by a free election process. Convictions for misconduct have been sparse and when one corrupt official is removed another soon takes his place. The result has been a complete domination of certain industries by hoodlums. Management personnel in the companies who must deal with these hoodlums have despaired of getting help from law enforcement authorities. They pay the price of labor peace so that they may survive. The cost is passed on to the consumer.
It’s always exceedingly dangerous to look to the US unions as examples of desirable outcomes. Foreign really is a different country.