The Los Angeles Times is reporting that labor unions are seeking an exemption to the minimum wage rule that they helped pushed through. In a statement dripping with irony, Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor, explained why union-negotiated contracts should get the exemption:
“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. This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”
That’s rich. Replace “collective bargaining agreement” with “employment contract” and you see the irony. It’s true that allowing workers and employers to negotiate and prioritize what is important to them is a good thing. That’s why a $15 minimum wage law — which makes labor more expensive and less demanded and prevents workers and employers from negotiating and prioritizing what’s important to them — is a bad thing.