- - Thursday, October 23, 2014

I heard it again the other day – this time on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol.

“I want! I want! I want my fifteen dollars!”

Yes, there was another organized protest to try and raise the minimum wage. Nearly every single state and most major cities across the country have seen some type of demonstration in the last year about increasing the minimum wage.

Most of the time, union-backed groups like worker centers and other “non-partisan” organizations planned the protests. These groups range from Working Washington, based in Seattle, to the Texas Organizing Project, which has offices in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. In the Dairy State, Wisconsin Jobs Now calls Milwaukee its home.

These groups all seem to have one thing in common. They are all backed by massive labor unions, most notably the Service Employees International Union — or SEIU. According to a Watchdog.org report, the SEIU funneled nearly $15 million into these “worker centers” in 2013.

While each groups claims to be looking out for workers, nothing could be further from the truth. If groups like Working Washington and Wisconsin Jobs Now cared about workers, they would not organize protests urging for a policy that will endanger the jobs of the exact people they claim to be helping.

While the SEIU-backed groups are calling for a $15 minimum wage in most cities and states, it seems like the agreed upon number from President Obama and other Democrats is $10.10 an hour.

Even a raise to $10.10 would have terrible implications for low-wage workers. A report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that minimum wage increase would cost 500,000 jobs across the United States. The CBO points out that the jobs losses could be as high as one million.

Outside of the CBO report, there are countless studies that show raising the wage would have detrimental effects on workers. More than 500 economists, including four Nobel Laureates, even sent a letter to Congress informing them of the negative impacts of an artificial wage increase.

Luckily, some of these groups are finally starting to show their true nature. Many people, including myself, have said this from the beginning. All the protests were not about a better wage for workers, but political gain for the unions and their friends.

The chanting for a $15 minimum wage I mentioned at the top of the column was at a protest organized by Wisconsin Jobs Now in Madison. At that protest, they talked about the need to vote for non-binding referendums to raise the minimum wage. But, they also mentioned that while at the polls everyone should vote for Mary Burke, the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin governor — and Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s opponent.

So this self-proclaimed non-partisan group went from advocating for policy to endorsing a candidate supported by most major labor unions. Weird how that just kind of happened, right?

And don’t worry, the group is not just wasting its money on small protests at the Capitol. Wisconsin Jobs Now actually organized a two-week voting drive where paid staffers are going around the city of Milwaukee in vans to pick up Burke supporters and bring them to the polls to vote early.

The Democratic mayor of Milwaukee has made sure they will have plenty of free parking for the next two weeks, as well, so they can get as many Mary Burke supporters to the polls – and I guess so they can vote on that non-binding minimum wage referendum.

Now it is all clear. The SEIU was not funneling millions of dollars into these non-partisan groups to help workers or to even increase the minimum wage. They were just building support for Democrats in the midterm elections.

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