You gotta love Los Angeles, but when I read stories about what officials there might be planning with their minimum wage increase, my blood really starts boiling. Below is the key portion of the story:
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.
L.A.’s unions want to be able to offer lower wages for potential employers yet force non-union workers to be paid the higher “minimum wage.” That means if employers want to avoid L.A.’s planned wage hike, they would be forced to do business with organized labor.
Naturally, many L.A. labor leaders love the idea.
“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,” [Rusty Hicks, a labor leader in Los Angeles,] said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”
In fact, minimum wages go directly against this concept. With minimum wages, the government gets to decide whether mutually beneficial agreements between businesses and employees are in fact good enough. And in the case of the exemption proposal, the labor union essentially is inserting itself between employees and employers, undermining both parties’ “freedom . . . to negotiate that agreement.”
Employees don’t necessarily want or need labor unions acting as a middleman and negotiating on their behalf. Usually, individual employees are their own negotiators.
Raising the minimum wage brings with it some negative consequences, like lost jobs and damaged earnings potential. But if jurisdictions do increase the minimum wage, everybody should be forced to abide by them, and that includes labor unions.