When activists from UNITEHERE—the union of hospitality industry workers—were recently lobbying in Washington DC in an effort to get relief from some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are undermining the hard won healthcare coverage of the union’s mostly low-wage membership, they were told by an aide to New Jersey Senator Menendez that, “Labor needs to regress to the mean.”
Of course, under the laws of mathematics, if you only reduce those factors that exceed a mean, the mean itself constantly adjusts downward. In that context, another term for “regress to the mean” is “race to the bottom”.
For many workers, the ACA is having that exact effect. UNITEHERE’s recently released report Making Inequality Worse documents how Obamacare, supported by many unions as a means of leveling the playing field between union and non-union workers, is having the perverse and opposite effect of increasing inequality.