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$15 Minimum
No Fair Wages, Please! We’re Unionized

LA union leaders, some of the strongest supporters of the city’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020, have called for an interesting exception to the rule: their own members. The labor leaders have argued that collective bargaining rights trump city rules under federal law, and that exempting unionized workers from the minimum wage increase will allow those workers the “freedom” they need in collective bargaining.

An official with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, which has opposed the law, excoriated labor for this seeming contradiction, saying “Once again, the soaring rhetoric of helping the working poor is just a cover for city government acting as a tool of organized labor.”

While we wouldn’t put it quite like that, it’s true that this move looks rather fishy. Indeed, opponents of minimum wage laws often point out the very disadvantage that LA’s labor leaders refuse to accept for themselves: that such laws deny all workers the flexibility to accept lower wages in exchange for other things they might want, like, say, flexible or part-time hours, the opportunity to telecommute, or even just a shot at a job itself. Whether or not you credit that argument, LA unions would seem a lot more convincing in their efforts to deny such flexibility to other workers if they weren’t trying to reserve it for themselves.

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  • MartyH

    I’m trying to think this through…

    I thought the point of a union was to get above market rates for labor, not below market rates. Consider the union worker who gets dues taken out of his paycheck just so that he can get paid less than the minimum wage. Some bargain joining the union is!

    I know unions want to organize, say, McDonalds workers. Imagine that franchisees are struggling under this $15 minimum wage, and unions offer to come in and reduce their burden-the franchisee can pay employees less, and the union gets to organize the workers-a long time goal. How is that not racketeering?

    To FG; This is what is meant by “Blue Model Failure”. The law has not even been implemented yet, and one of its biggest supporters wants to be exempted from it. The $15 minimum wage in LA is blowing up before it even gets to the launch pad.

    • Kevin

      It coukd well be that for like spilled works some number <$15 is still above market.

      Does this mean though that if you refuse to join the union they have to pay you $15 (and you save the dues)?

    • FriendlyGoat

      It’s absolutely true that workers will not need a union to negotiate a wage of say, $13.50, if a political subdivision makes it $15.00 but the workers may want to decide whether the effort of their union in the past may have contributed to the election of politicians who support the $15.00 level. Certainly we know that Republican politicians will oppose BOTH any minimum wage and any unions.

    • mikekelley10

      No, the point of a union, from the bosses’ standpoint, is to get dues out of the members. Sometimes this is a good trade off for the rank and file, and other times it isn’t. I marvel at people in really low-paying industries who funnel money to unions just to get what they would get anyway.

  • JR

    Unions were also the biggest supporters of ACA until they realized their health plans will be negatively affected. So now they are fighting to be exempt from it. Unions are mostly parasites whose main purpose is to fight for benefits of its members at the expense of everyone else. Seeing how ridiculously high minimum wage laws hurt workers, why wouldn’t unions fight to protect their members from the negative consequences of such a move? “Blue Model Failure” comes from the fact that the costs of the Blue Model are no longer possible to sweep under the rug and you have members of Blue Coalition fighting among themselves to shift the costs to someone else.

  • Anthony

    “When he ran for president in 1992, Bill Clinton repeatedly told voters, what you earn depends on what you learn. While there’s still some truth to Clinton’s adage, for working-class Americans today, what you earn increasingly depends on where you live.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/two-nations-under-one-flag/2015/05/27/70fd0fa6-0487-lle5-bc72-f3e16bf50bb6_story.html

    • JR

      What you earn depends on where you live is true for everyone everywhere. Not sure how that truism is relevant to discussion on why unions want to exempt themselves from the law that they championed so vociferously.

      • Anthony

        Context is always important; read referenced article if inclined.

        • JR

          It’s not an article, it is an opinion piece from a self-described “democratic socialist”. I have immigrated from a country that was run by socialists so I got to experience on my very own hide the actual practical effects of socialism, so there is nothing any socialist can possibly write that will convince me that this time socialism will actually work. If that makes me narrow-minded, than so be it. All I can say is that I personally have not noticed a large number of fed-up Americans immigrating to Venezuela, the land of socialism in South America. The number of people trying to escape the hellhole of Florida for the communist paradise of Cuba is somewhat negligible as well as far as I can tell. But my original point remains the same. Your geographic location matters to your earning potential (economic migration has been a feature of human life for millenniums). Nobody is disputing that fact. How that is relevant to unions trying to shield themselves from the harmful effects of laws that they themselves pass is still a mystery to me.

          • Anthony

            Opinion/article was not point; but a wonder of World Wide Web is “billions” can interject despite brevity of TAI Post – as well as educe relevance.

          • JR

            So far you haven’t told us what that relevance is. I don’t get it. I admit my intellectual defeat. What is the relevance? Please educate me. I mean this most sincerely, because it seems like a non-sequitur to me.

          • Anthony

            There is no us and don’t presume you’re audience. I’m done here sir!

          • JR

            “You’re THE audience” is grammatically correct since we are being haughty. As for you being done here, may you always find water and shade wherever your journey takes you. Let the odds be ever in your favor!

          • JR

            That’s what you said last time and yet, amazingly enough you are still here. Why did you lie to me??? What have I done to anger you so? More importantly, what can I do to get back into your good graces? I can change, I CAN CHANGE!!!!!

          • Anthony

            There was no other time (to my memory) but for specificity “I’m done” refers to item/issue/topic/idea/misunderstanding being commented upon. So instead, “let’s end this” and thanks for gracious remarks below.

          • JR

            Pleasure is all on this side of the table, trust me.

          • Fred

            Dude, you’ve been Anthonied, i.e. “Anthony, verb, transitive: To initiate a comment stream with a nonsensical, incoherent, arrogant, and/or pretentious comment then respond to any responses with hand-waving dismissal, condescension, and/or hostility as well as refusing to continue the conversation. Often used to hide inability to construct an argument and respond to counterarguments. Example: That mere mortal on TAI tried to argue with me, but I Anthonied the hell out of him.”

          • JR

            LOL. Listen, I will argue with everyone and anyone. I thought that was the point of anonymous Internet boards. Those who have a big ego, I will try to deflate that a bit. Those who engage in serious arguments, I will try to respond in kind. Those who engage in anti-Semitic nonsense will get mocked mercilessly (looking at you, Mr. Homosexual Souls). And if somebody gets offended by me, well, that’s the way it crumbles sometimes, cookie-wise.

          • Fred

            Glad I could give you a giggle. Consider it some small repayment for the laughs you’ve given me, especially in regards to a certain anti-semite who shall remain nameless but whose name is a synonym both for new and naive and for sick.

          • JR

            I always wonder whether people who spout nonsense about homosexual souls and how 9/11 was a Mossad conspiracy realize how counter-productive they are to the very cause they hold so dear. I mean, does anyone really believe that nonsense? It’s like arguing really earnestly that Earth is flat and is a center of the universe. It just makes you look foolish.
            As for people who argue for socialism, I also feel like that debate is just to pass the time. 20th century happened. We know what works and what doesn’t. No amount of of 1s and 0s thrown across the wilds of Internet will make food appear on the shelves of socialist paradise of Venezuela.

          • Anthony

            Because I choose not to respond to you or …. is not representative of avoidance (there exist no need for validation or commiseration among…). You redundantly mischaracterize and petulantly denigrate (as is your option in free society) perceived opponents/contraries for motivations only you must examine. Dan Greene assessed correctly: “…is unsurpassed.” Nevertheless and to straighten out your interpretation/characterization (as you can’t seem to let my name or postings escape your assumed indignation/vituperation over 12 months), I comment where I choose and exercise privilege to distinguish between verbal behavior on one hand and purposeful language on the other (abstract system of elements and rules). Yet in this particular exercise, I have observed a common thread triggering thinly veiled…. (by the way, I still subscribe to Oct. 23, 2014 reply as well as soundness of Dan Greene’s humane advise; to that end, I write in this instance because recklessly used me as a subject).

          • Fred

            See 26 February 2015 reply to your reply.

          • Anthony

            For clarity and elimination of confusion there exists no reply (and there exists no reason as you’ve been told); as I said you parrot well – inter alia, see both Oct, 23, 2014 and Dan Greene’s gracious suggestion (we’re now into 8 months and counting excluding prior months of similar dissonance).

          • Fred

            See 26 February 2015 reply to your reply. (Annoying isn’t it?)

          • Anthony

            Not annoying because your attempts to redirect are fallacious – you have not replied on any date referenced as there was no need (see both D. Greene and 8 months ago); also check your Disqus file, unless you are trying to equivocate. More importantly, respectfully consider advise proffered as offer has been made in catholicity.

          • JR

            Yeah Fred!!! Go see DAN GREENE’S reply from 2 years ago. You fool!!! Don’t you know that once the name of DAN GREENE (may peace be upon him) is uttered all your “opinions” and “facts” are rendered irrelevant!!! I mean, we know that Dan Greene is the ultimate arbiter of truth, but alas, some are not as enlightened as we are.

          • Anthony

            So, you have a problem with Mr. Greene. And now you want to infect (I have never confused message with messenger). In particular (if one deigns), internet anonymity provides heroic venue to spew venomous hate as well as subjective interests but unlike Dan Greene I have no patience for tutorials. With respect, I’m done. (I am sure Mr. Green will oblige you for another several hours).

          • JR

            I have no problems with Dan Greene. I just find your appeals to his authority to be comical in nature.
            Btw, this is the fourth time you said “I’m done” in this thread.

          • Anthony

            As Dan so aptly told you: you replied to me not I to you and “being done” referenced your latest tirade and assignation. Next to that, I will not write to his appeals to authority but I can acknowledge his geo-political contributions and insight on these and other web pages since we’ve exchanged comments. That said, Mr. Greene as any engaged American has views. From last two marathon exchanges, he appears more than willing to satiate your inquiries. Beyond that, there’s nothing further to add except that I rather not engage your Dan Greene categorization (my use of him as reference source notwithstanding).

          • JR

            It appears our definitions of “I’m done” are not the same.

          • Anthony

            Not important; but real simply again as Dan so aptly put it: equivocation and evasiveness are often tactically useful (though intellectually dishonest). However, let’s end this!

          • JR

            I asked you some very direct questions which you avoided answering. What were you saying about evasiveness being intellectually dishonest? Or does that only apply to us, lesser beings than you?

          • Anthony

            Give it a rest (and don’t use Dan’s strategy on me as you and I have nothing to exchange). But you can get all you want from Dan Greene (there are some of us who have lives beyond world wide web).

          • JR

            And yet you respond almost in real time. Just like the rest of us with smartphones.

          • Anthony

            I conclude to end your engagement one must mimic WigWag cease responding.

          • JR

            This is your 11th response since your first “I’m done”. I just want to see if I can make you go to 15.

          • JR

            Also, I will freely admit that I assumed that you posting something was an invitation to a conversation. Now it is clear to me that it was meant as a statement of Absolute Truth that had to be accepted without question. I sincerely regret my error. But I however am thankful that you found time to enlighten us mere mortals with your wisdom. The fact that I dared to question you fills me with shame. Is there any way I can atone for my error?

          • Anthony

            The dialog you seek comes with Dan; as I said I rather not. So, again let’s end this.

          • JR

            But you were being so sanctimonious about how evasiveness is a sign of intellectual dishonesty while evasively avoiding answering direct questions. I was just enjoying that so… Plus, I want to see how many times you will pretend to end this only to respond seconds later. I want to see how long I can keep you going. That’s real talk right there! No evasiveness.

          • Anthony

            Give internet a rest. You and I have nothing to exchange but you can get all you want from Dan Greene.

          • JR

            And still evasively avoiding questions about the minimum wage and the unions which begun this. Sigh…. I expected better.

          • Anthony

            You’re copying Dan’s material ( posing evasiveness and deceptive phrasing as inquiry when there’s no real intent but time wasting) as platform to frame purpose. But as stated below, to conclude with you one must not respond.

          • JR

            Since you are responding it leads me to believe you don’t want the exchange to end. I’m just curious as to why you continue to evade a question whether it is fair for unions to ask for a wage to be below the wage declared to be absolute minimal needed for survival. I’m not sure what is evasive about that. What phrasing do you not understand, exactly? We can define every word before you impart your wisdom. Or just admit you posted a non-sequitur. +12

          • Anthony

            Think very carefully. The post you reference as brief as it was can be narrowly construed as a union issue (California minimum wage exemption) or broadly as part of macro continuum contrasting simplistic blue/red state models of governance. The latter view informed my comment (which actually was a quote from Bill Clinton circa 1991). The question had not been part of my consciousness so I had no basis at time of post to give it more than passing thought. But, the Manhatten Institute on May 28, 2015 ran an essay in support of your general thrust – “Why Unions Exempt Themselves from Hard Fought Minimum Wage Hikes”. As an aside, unlike Dan Greene I have no interest nor desire for unwarranted internet exchange and I respond out of civility as I don’t know you or anyone in virtual world of commentary. Finally, “I’m done or let’s end this” is not personal but my way of concluding respectfully sans affront.

          • JR

            ok , I buy that. Since the original TAI post was about the question of union hypocracy, I assumed your post dealt with that particular issue. It appears your comments were more general in nature. I appreciate the thoughtful response.

          • Anthony

            My pleasure. And I trust we can agree to disagree.

          • JR

            Absolutely. There is nothing worse than being only able to hear your own voice.

          • JR

            Dude, he is using no less of an authority than Dan Greene HIMSELF!!! I mean, Dan Greene!!! Well, now we are really getting somewhere!!!!

  • Zach Barclift

    I feel this publication could do with a message board, vice this Youtubesque commentary format.

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