Labor leaders, who insisted for most of the last year that no exemptions should be allowed when instituting a minimum wage hike for the City of Los Angeles, have changed their tune now that the Los Angeles City Council approved the hike to $15 last week, asserting that companies whose employees are unionized should be exempted from the forced wage hike.
Last week, the minimum wage hike to $15 an hour by 2020 passed in a 14-to-1 vote by the council.
Labor leaders noted that federal laws allow collective bargaining agreements to override local ordinances, thus permitting the exemption for unionized companies.
But Ruben Gonzalez, senior vice president for public policy and political affairs with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, pointed out the hypocrisy of labor leaders, telling 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….Once again, the soaring rhetoric of helping the working poor is just a cover for city government acting as a tool of organized labor.”
Gonzalez pointed out that the exemption could be used to force companies into letting employees unionize to they would not have to raise wages.
As Forbes‘ Tim Worstall wrote in response to the labor unions’ hypocrisy, “(Hicks) really is saying that a union member can agree to go to work for $12 an hour, just as an example, but one not anointed with the healing touch of Randy’s advice and aid is simply not competent to do so. For everyone else working at $14.99 an hour is a crime, one punishable on the employers’ side, however voluntary and mutually agreed the arrangement is. Another way of looking at it could be that this is simply a power grab by those unions.”