L.A. Unions Seek Exemption from Minimum Wage Hike They Helped Push Through

Corrupt labor leader has the gall to call his rule-bending 'freedom'


Slogan there on the right. ||| Laurie Avocado
Laurie Avocado

We can at least thank the perpetually debased political class of Los Angeles for being transparent in their gag-inducing shamelessness. You recall the historic 14-1 vote 10 days ago by the union-dominated L.A. City Council to raise the minimum wage to $15? Well, the Los Angeles Times is reporting on the next shoe to drop:

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

"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," Hicks said in a statement. "This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing."

Rusty Hicks. ||| SCPR.org

Hicks has more than a rusty conception of "freedom." True freedom—heck, true industrial freedom, to exhume a resonant California phrase—is about letting those icky other people come up with their own agreements, even if you don't quite fancy the terms. There's another word available to describe forcing people under threat of government punishment to comply with terms you have dictated, and then turning around and exempting yourself from those rules: blatant, coercive corruption.

A side note about L.A.'s latest attempt to enact social policy on the backs of local business: What happens when government intervention makes a particular good significantly more expensive? As J.D. Tuccille never tires of reminding us, black markets happen. Hmmm, let's see, does Southern California have any familiarity with black markets in labor? My prediction: By 2020, when the full $15 wage is in effect, you'll see plenty of chronically under-employed native born joining the illegal immigrants at the region's several government-funded day-labor centers. Sometimes the Blue Model is just breathtaking to behold.