To the Editor:
“The Subversion of Collective Bargaining” by Daniel Bell [March] calls attention to important concepts too often overlooked or misunderstood in our industrial economy. He clearly demonstrates that the unorganized worker and the pensioner are the real losers in the present collective bargaining process.
Mr. Bell suggests that the last historic step remains to be taken by the unions—“a true annual wage.” In pressing this laudable objective I am afraid that he overstates the case for the salaried worker. . . . The fact is that the non-executive salaried worker—typist, clerk, bookkeeper—is not well paid. In fact, the wage studies have constantly revealed that both the actual hourly rate and per annum gross earnings for the blue-collar worker exceeds that of the white-collar worker in almost any industrial plant.
The reader should understand that the white-collar worker needs the advantages of collective bargaining.
I. F. Friedman
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Mr. Bell writes:
Mr. Friedman may be right regarding the wage gains that the white-collar worker may gain by organization, but I was not talking so much about the amount of wages as the method of wage payment. A blue-collar worker, paid by the piece or by the hour, is thus a commodity, and while a salaried worker may ofttimes receive less than a blue-collar worker, the way he is paid—a bookkeeper does not have to post a consistent hundred entries per hour—reflects an important symbolic difference.