$15 Minimum Wage: the Best Government Unions can Buy

Jerry Brown
The Associated Press
Newport Beach, CA

Although unions claim that the State of California’s approval of a $15 minimum wage was about people power, at least five Democrat legislators shared $48,700 in union campaign cash the day they voted for the bill.

Following April 1 State Assembly and Senate votes approving a minimum wage bill raising the baseline to $15 over the next six years, Local 1000 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Candidate PAC wrote $8,500 donation checks to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount), former Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), and Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose). Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), received a $4,200 check, according to state campaign disclosure filings.

SEIU is the dominant union money player in American politics. In the 2012 federal election cycle, it donated a jaw-dropping $224,273,550 to candidates, parties, political action committees, super PACs, federal 527 organizations, and Carey committees. Democrats and liberals pocketed $222,520,804, or 99 percent, of this largess. Republicans and conservatives received a paltry $1,294,169, or 1 percent.

SEIU Local 1000’s political action committee dominated 2012 union campaign spending on California state and local campaign issues in 2012, with $4.3 million in contributions. The union also gave $1 million in support of Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure, Proposition 30, which won with organized labor’s get-out-the-vote efforts in the crucial final weeks of the campaign season.

At a State of California level, SEIU Local 1000 refers to itself on its web site as a “united front of 95,000 working people employed by the State of California, making Local 1000 the largest public sector union in California and one of the largest in the country.”

This term “united front” is a classic Marxist term coined by the Leon Trotsky, the number two Bolshevik leader in the 1917 Russian Revolution, and founder of the 3-million-man Red Army.

Trotsky wrote, “Just as the trade union is the rudimentary form of the united front in the economic struggle, so the soviet is the highest form of the united front under the conditions in which the proletariat enters the epoch of fighting for power.” He added, “All genuflections before the soviets are equally as fashionable in the ‘left’ circles.”

Before switching side and now saying he will sign the $15 minimum wage, Governor Jerry Brown in January expressed concerns that the state’s new nation-leading $10-per-hour minimum wage “is enough for now,” because it will already cost the state budget an extra 250 million a year. Brown pointed to a California Department of Finance economic analysis warning that a $15 an hour minimum wage would devastate the state budget by adding an additional $4 billion-per-year in costs by 2021.

Brown’s biggest concern is that the $15 minimum wage will actually hurt the poor people it is supposedly intended to help. “Raise the minimum wage too much and you put a lot of poor people out of work,” Brown told reporters, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. “There won’t be a lot of jobs. It’s a matter of balance.”

Big service businesses, like chain restaurants, hotels and retailers, can probably automate away many jobs that will be subject to a $15 minimum wage. But the wage spike is an existential threat to tens of thousands of small businesses that do not have the profits or expertise to automate away higher labor costs.