Unions’ Cynical Minimum-Wage Gambit

Unions in California pushing for a higher minimum wage say they care about workers, but it’s really a power play.

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We want California to be the first in the nation as it is in so many fronts, and to be able to spread this to other states,” Mary Kay Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union told the Wall Street Journal recently. Like so many other ideas from California progressives, let’s hope the spread is contained.

California governor Gavin Newsom is currently undecided on the $22 minimum-wage bill, but he is under heavy pressure to sign it. Unions are the main force applying that pressure. Never mind that California already has a $14 minimum wage, and it is set to rise to $15 next year. The state approved that way back in 2016. California did it at the urging of the labor movement, who said it was needed to ensure that fast-food workers could have a living wage. Sound familiar?

Unions have been a driving force behind the movement to raise the minimum wage. The SEIU launched a bid to organize fast-food workers in 2013 under the slogan “$15 and a union.” The intention was to plant the idea in franchise restaurant workers that if they organized, the resulting unions could negotiate a $15 wage for them. Why $15? “It was a firm round number that workers felt motivated and inspired by,” David Rolf, head of Seattle-based SEIU Local 775, told the Northwest Labor Press in April 2016.

It never caught on with fast-food workers for the simple reason that few people want to make a career out of working in that industry. But the idea of a $15 minimum wage did catch on with progressive West Coast politicians.

Read the full article at National Review.