In Los Angeles, a minimum wage law pushed in large part by unions, is in its final crafting stages. The bill would raise the city minimum wage to $15 by the year 2020, but guess who would like an exemption? Unions. That’s right, the same guys who argued vociferously to keep out exemptions for businesses that might have trouble staying in business under the new law would like their own exemption, thank you very much. Because rules are for suckers, not union members.
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.
But 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.
Wait until you hear why they think they should get an exemption. Because FREEDOM:
“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.”
Ya don’t say, union hack? Newsflash: In most employer agreements in a free market system, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. That agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them. It’s nice when parties have the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. It’s a good thing. You have just stated eloquently the reasons for not hiking the minimum wage unilaterally.
“I’d refer everyone back to the statements of labor leaders over the past seven months that no one deserves a sub-minimum wage,” said Ruben Gonzalez, senior vice president for public policy and political affairs with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the minimum wage increase passed by the City Council.
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.
“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.
This is another installment of an ongoing series: