Greenville One Percenter Thinks Delaware’s Economy Can Be Fixed If Its Workers Are Paid Less

Anthony Wedo gives an interview to the Daily SignalAnthony Wedo gives an interview to the Daily Signal proudly touting his commitment to make Delaware a “Right-to-Work” state. The Daily Signal is the house organ of The Heritage Institute. This effort starts in Sussex County where someone talked the County Council:

Now he wants to be part of a bigger change by getting behind right-to-work legislation about to be proposed in one of the three counties in his home state of Delaware.

Elected officials in Sussex County, Delaware, were expected to make a public announcement on the right-to-work bill as early as Tuesday.

If such a timetable holds, the five-member Sussex County Council could vote on the proposal at its meeting Oct. 10, with three votes needed to pass it. All of the council members are Republicans.

Got that? About Mr. Wedo:

Wedo, now chairman, president, and CEO of Greenville-based Premier Restaurant Group, is widely known as a “turnaround CEO” with a talent for reinventing and reinvigorating brands that have not realized their full potential.

He has set his sights on right to work as an audacious new challenge in his home state, which he says is “strategically located with an awesome brand that has been left unattended by unenlightened leaders.”

Although Delaware has experienced economic decline in recent years, Wedo said, the state “can be reinvigorated through the free enterprise system and with the right mix of incentives to attract new business.”

There’s alot to unpack here, but mainly what we see here is if you can skillfully weave together all of the right 1% hot buttons, you can sell yourself as a Republican. Because I am REALLY sure that Mr. Wedo would not want the state to completely withdraw its support for businesses — which is what genuinely free enterprise would mean. Which would mean that the incentives wouldn’t be on the table because free enterprise would demand that you live or die by your own ability to compete in the marketplace. Not in how much money you can squeeze out of taxpayers.

Cleanly competing in the marketplace also means being able to hire and retain a workforce that will help you compete. “Right-to-work” is an effort to let employers bypass the collective bargaining power of unions who will stand for fair compensation for all of its members. Dismantle a union and you dismantle a fair wage. You end up with workforces who are docile and fearful of job loss — who might as well take minimum wage, because otherwise there is no work. Un-American.

Sussex County can’t afford to lose middle class jobs, they can’t afford to put their own citizens in the poorhouse. On the other hand, Sussex County has gets supports from the state that other counties do not –State Police subsidies instead of their own force, anyone?

“I’m a data-driven person and the data on right to work is overwhelming,” Wedo told The Daily Signal in an interview. “Those states and those localities that are right to work have more jobs, more business opportunity, and more economic opportunity.”

And of course, there is none of this data in this article. But the game is laid out. They want Sussex to pass this so that it can all go to court:

Labor unions, and possibly the Delaware attorney general, will file suit against Sussex County if it proceeds, said Charles Daniel, president of the Caesar Rodney Institute, a Delaware-based free-market think tank that is part of the State Policy Network.

Daniel told The Daily Signal that such court cases could work their way up to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Virgin Islands.

Even so, Daniel said, he takes heart from the 6th Circuit’s unanimous ruling in favor of local action.

So they can’t get this the old-fashioned way, so they will sue to get it.

And while I’m at it, how many union jobs are there in Sussex? They don’t have much of a manufacturing base. There are teachers and there are nurses.

What is clear is that the state’s GOP is hell-bent in making sure that its citizens are paid as little as possible. They should stay out of the employment business here and stop trying to pick winners and losers. Let employees work out their employment deals with their employers. If the marketplace couldn’t tolerate unions, those unions would go. The marketplace does not need the GOP to push solutions that help them get wealthier at the expense of the state’s workers.

You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas. -- Shirley Chisolm

14 comments on “Greenville One Percenter Thinks Delaware’s Economy Can Be Fixed If Its Workers Are Paid Less

  1. cassandram

    One more thought here. Sussex is the beneficiary of an influx of funds today for more beach replenishment. This is money from the Feds and from the state. Everyone who commented on this made some hay about this being an investment in the economic health of the area and the state. But there is NOTHING free market about this, right? If the people who capitalize on a beach suddenly don’t have it anymore, the markets would tell you to pack it up. These folks don’t do that. They rely on taxpayers to make sure they stay in business.

    And Great Lakes works with Local 25 of IUOE.

  2. If a free insurance market operated near the ocean, those houses wouldn’t cost a million dollars; the insurance on them would.

  3. Mr. Wedo logic applies as well to other business costs, such as dividends, CEO compensation and share buybacks. But curiously, is never applied to such costs.

  4. Look him up. He’s a real beaut. Sells himself as a “turnaround specialist” because he led Old Country Buffet’s parent company for a couple of years after one of its bankruptcies. It was then sold and he was shown the door.

    According to his LInkedIn profile,

    “Mr. Wedo is now leading Mainline Capital Advisors, LLC where he is pursuing the acquisition of small to mid-sized franchised and independently owned restaurant concepts. Mainline also provides advisory services to professional debt and equity investors seeking to invest in the retail restaurant and hospitality industries.”

    Translation: He’s not working, at least not getting paid for it. But wait, good news — he’s also a UD adjunct and a motivational speaker.

    What’s he doing talking union-busting in SuxCo? My guess would be that he’s identified a business target — he apparently has other people’s money behind him — and wants to get in good with the locals so whatever he’s up to gets approval. A very little money goes a long way with Cletus and the boys.

    • cassandram

      So seriously how much union activity is there in Sussex? I suspect there is not much outside of nurses and teachers. I think that they are looking for a way to sue their way to right-to-work and bypass the legislature as much as possible.

  5. I can’t think of any place in Sussex where nurses in any numbers are Unionized. Certainly not Beebe or Nanticoke. Maybe the State owned Stockly Center?

  6. I think one of the bigger union shops down in Sussex is the Indian River power plant.

  7. I wonder how he squares these two statements from the article (the second is a direct quote from Wedo)?

    “Right-to-work laws prohibit private sector employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and payment of union dues a condition of employment.”

    “Right to work is about less government, fewer mandates, and more freedom.”

    Wouldn’t a true free market allow an employer to enter into any agreement it chose, or to make anything it wanted a condition of employment? Don’t right to work laws actually reduce freedom to contract?

    • cassandram

      The free market would allow both the employer and the employee to negotiate a mutually acceptable employment deal. Right-to-work puts its thumb on the scale for employers by undermining representation choices for employees.

  8. Deb Schultz

    I came across your post because I was researching number of union jobs in Sussex. I think there are other unions here. Certain grocery store employees have a union, there’s the Carpenters’ Union and other skilled labor unions. But it isn’t easy to find any sort of solid numbers on union jobs that actually exist here now. (BTW, It’s my understanding that right-to-work laws in localities do not apply to public unions like teachers or nurses or state employees or federal workers.)

    I’m also wondering how employment and wages/benefits actually work. Suppose you work for a home health care company, for example, or as an aide in a nursing home. Those operations now stand to be big companies, certainly larger than just the single place you work in. When it comes time to negotiate a salary and benefits, how do you as an individual employee have any leverage? I have the same questions about people who work for franchises of national corporations. If you’re an employee at the Wawa or McDonald’s, say, you don’t really have a yearly opportunity to negotiate with the corporation and the franchisee has his or her own constrained relationship with the corporation that comes first.

    It’s pretty clear that right-to-work is a straw man. No one has to belong to a union to work. You may have to be a member of the State Police union in this state to get a political position, though, come to think of it. Just kidding!!

    • cassandram

      Great comments, Deb. And I think that it is the lack of leverage that is the rationale behind increasing minimum wages or mandating certain amounts of sick time or family leave for workers or even mandating how your time is scheduled. If people aren’t allowed to unionize, they start looking to legislatures for some fairness.

  9. Wawa isn’t a franchise. I worked at two hospitals in DE through 3 attempts at unionization. The votes were not there, not even close. However, after one attempt there was a 15% pay raise across the board.

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