Minimum Wage Lesson: Union That Campaigned for It Wants Exemption

The union officials who demanded no exceptions to the Los Angeles minimum wage hike are now giving us a minimum wage lesson by asking for an exception.

Minimum wage increases don’t increase unemployment, they argue. Or, rather, they assert. There is no argument.

But then suddenly the truth comes out when the very people arguing that a higher minimum wage must be inflicted on all businesses without exception suddenly demand an exception in order to increase union employment.

From the Los Angeles Times: “L.A. labor leaders seek minimum wage exemption for firms with union workers.”

Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces.

The push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

So the entire campaign was a pretense. Now that the law is about to be enforced, we suddenly find out that labor leaders want unions carved out of the protections. But if the reason for a minimum wage law was to protect workers from low wages, then why should unions get permission to reverse that protection and allow them to be exploited again?

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”

But if having options and freedom is so great, then why not give it to everyone? After all, if people would prefer the union to negotiating by themselves they can always join the union. So if people don’t want the union, why shouldn’t they have the freedom to make their own “bargaining agreement” with a business owner?

[See also, “Do You Seriously Want to Raise Minimum Wage with THIS Teen Unemployment Rate?]

What is going on? Very simple: This was never a campaign to raise the pay for all workers to fifteen dollars an hour as far as the union leaders were concerned. That was always a deception. This entire campaign was a way for them to give unions leverage to make more businesses hire and negotiate with union members in a collective bargaining situation. The union leaders knew all along that forcing wages higher would lead to unemployment. But their plan was to give the unions the capacity to underbid non-union workers in L.A. They want non-union workers to be unemployed and allow union workers to work for less than the minimum wage.

So not only do we see that Liberals believe that higher minimum wage laws lead to greater unemployment, but we also see that they were counting on it.