Amazing! In a recent guest viewpoint in The Register-Guard (“Springfield leaders target a barrier to affordable housing,” 3/17), the presidents of the Eugene and Springfield boards of Realtors equated affordable housing with subsidized housing. What kind of economic system is this, if working families can’t afford housing without public assistance?

Chelsea Dietmeyer and Isaac Judd rightly commend Springfield for encouraging accessory dwellings, but that kind of government action won’t get to the root of the problem. As the Realtors wrote: “As prices increase … wages don’t keep up …” Subsidizing prices is one approach, but how about doing something about wages?

In January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its report on unions. Among the findings: Union-represented employees earned 20 percent more than non-union workers in 2017. That union wage advantage averaged $199 per week. With $10,000 more in annual income, a lot more people could afford housing.

To address housing affordability, Realtors and others should be strong advocates for union organizing. Here’s one idea: How about requiring all businesses that receive tax benefits or other public subsidies — including job training of employees — to remain neutral and not fight against union organizing at their facilities?

Stefan Ostrach


Comments are closed.