Minimum Wage Hypocrisy

As most Lockerroom readers probably know, the Los Angeles City Council recently voted to raise the City’s minimum wage to $15/hour. Among the loudest voices calling for the increase was the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (AFCFL); however, having persuaded the City to impose this job-killing measure on the general workforce, the union now wants to exempt its own members from its effects. How hypocritical is this? In a post at BloombergView, Megan McArdle provides some damning quotes from LACFL head Rusty Hicks:

“Raising the minimum wage in LA County would help lift county workers, contractors and workers in unincorporated areas out of poverty and stimulate the economy.” — LA County Raise the Wage

“Among his highest priorities, Hicks said, will be to push forward a citywide minimum wage in Los Angeles, preferably of $15 an hour. … The statewide minimum wage stands at $9, but L.A. workers need $15 because of the high costs of housing and other necessities, Hicks said.” — Los Angeles Times

“You can’t continue to have a strong, vibrant economy if in fact folks don’t have money in their pockets.” — Southern California Public Radio

“Hicks argued that increasing the minimum wage for those barely getting by would decrease government subsidies in such things as child care and food stamps, saving the taxpayer dollars … Hicks argued that business has claimed job loss as a result of minimum wage increase since the minimum wage came into being in the 1930s, and that has not happened.” — Calwatchdog

Why would a union leader engage in such blatant hypocrisy? Megan says:

Here’s a … plausible explanation: Having achieved their goal, the unions are now worried that excessively high minimum wages will cost their workers jobs. Here’s another one: Perhaps unions fancy the idea of a labor market in which union workers are, through government fiat, the cheapest game in town. I’m sure that would be very good for the LA County Federation of Labor. But no explanation has been offered as to why it would be good for LA County.

Jon Guze / Director of Legal Studies

Jon Guze is the Director of Legal Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the John Locke Foundation, Jon practiced law in Durham, North Carolina for over twent...

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