As I reported in yesterday, Big Labor spent a lot of money and resources supporting the Los Angeles' $15 minimum wage. Of note, labor unions contributed a significant sum to all 14 of the Los Angeles City Council members that voted in favor of the wage hike. In total, according to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, the 14 LA City Council members received a combined $187,250 from unions in their last elections. As I also mentioned, unions do not financially assist minimum wage efforts because of altruism. Many union contracts tie members' wages to increases in the minimum wage and wage increases make unskilled non-union labor more expensive, which makes union labor more competitive. There is another way unions exploit minimum wage laws: unions lobby to become exempt from them... and that is exactly what is happening in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times. Union bosses, who fought against special exemptions for businesses, now want unionized companies to be exempt from the new, increased minimum wage. The Los Angeles Times reports:
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. "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."As Ruben Gonzalez astutely points out to the Los Angeles Times, "I'd refer everyone back to the statements of labor leaders over the past seven months that no one deserves a sub-minimum wage." Now LA City Council members will show their true colors. Do they support a minimum wage hike because they think it is what is best for workers or are they union stooges? For more on why union support for minimum wage laws is based on self-interest, see here and here.