Unions were over the moon about the Los Angeles City Council’s vote last week to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.
AFL and CIO affiliated unions were some of the biggest advocates of the minimum wage hike.
But with the $15 minimum scheduled to kick in, in a series of increments between now and 2020, the unions want…an exemption from the minimum-wage law for themselves.
Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.
“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.”
Of course, the parties to a union contract are not exercising freedom; they’re exercising the option of negotiating within certain limits. That’s the thing about curtailing people’s economic freedom. Those who advocate doing it always want special privileges for themselves. Always. Whatever clamps are to be placed on the public, the advocates for the clamps want to be able to control which clamps they, personally, have to operate with.
Ineffably, union representatives invoke federal law as an excuse for their exemption demand.
Coalition representatives said the proposed exemption would ensure the city complies with federal laws which they say give collective bargaining agreements precedence over local ordinances. They also contend that it would keep L.A.’s ordinance consistent with previous city wage laws.
Funny how that point didn’t figure before now in their passionate advocacy for the minimum-wage hike.
Ruben Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce makes this salient observation (emphasis added):
Gonzalez said the change sought by labor officials could pressure companies into letting employees unionize as a way to seek relief from the mandated wage hike.
No, er, shinola, Sherlock. He adds:
“Once again, the soaring rhetoric of helping the working poor is just a cover for city government acting as a tool of organized labor,” he said.
You act with utter cynicism, as the unions and their political allies on the L.A. City Council just have, and people are justified in questioning your motives.
Twitchy is tracking an “epic mock-alanche” as the unions’ cynical ploy goes viral all over social media. Many of the tweets pick up on the obviousness of the ulterior motive.
— Peter Wollesen (@PWollesen) May 27, 2015
Some point out that the $15 minimum wage threatens the economic viability of the unions’ own members, and not just the the competition.
And others are just disgusted.
This takes giant balls. Huge. Giant. Balls. And an ability to feel no shame. http://t.co/aCwytIH8GF
— EEE (@EEElverhoy) May 27, 2015
As am I.