- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Los Angeles union members are requesting the City Council exempt them from the $15-an-hour minimum-wage bill they fought years to enact.

Yes, that’s right. After fighting years for mandatory minimum wage, the union now wants out of it.

Union members from the AFL-CIO argue the city should exempt them from the $15-an-hour-wage mandate, which will be required of all businesses operating in Los Angeles by 2020. The union says the exemption would allow them more freedom to negotiate better agreements (which, gasp, just might mean lower wages) but that those lower wages could be offset by negotiating better benefits like in health care.

So, in other words, mandating a $15-minimum-wage may have some off-putting effects, like in the reduction of other benefits — what a novel thought. This is an argument you’ll never hear from the Fight for 15 coalition that is pressuring state and local government officials nationally to pass mandatory minimum wages.

An exemption from the mandate is also — of course — in the union’s own self-interest.

“The argument for a union exemption for minimum wage is that workers represented by unions have the ability to bargain for a combination of wages, benefits and working conditions that works best for them,” Chris Tilly, an urban planning professor at the University of California, Los Angeles told CNBC last year. “The idea is that their interests are being met.”

So long as the union’s interests are being met, who cares about the small businesses and service franchises that may be forced out of operation, or have to fire employees, because their profit margins can’t be met?

This year, New York and California passed $15 minimum-wage bills, with Massachusetts next on the docket. Free-market economists — and those in fast-food industry and other service industries — say the move leads to fewer jobs, no matter what the “fair” incentives are to pass these laws.

“I know it’s a job killer,” said former McDonald’s USA CEO Ed Rensi on Fox Business Monday about the $15 mandatory minimum wage. “The franchises are going to do what they need to do in order to survive, and that means they’re going to raise prices and cut costs, which means getting rid of people because the No. 1 component after food costs is labor costs. There’s just no way around it.”

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