From the Wall Street Journal Opinion Section, February 26, 2013, Richard Berman makes some points about the symbiosis between minimum wage policies and union interests. Mr. Berman is the executive director of the Center for Union Facts, www.unionfacts.com.
Berman’s key premise: “…some unions and their members directly benefit from minimum wage increases–even when nary a union member actually makes the minimum wage.”
Additional Berman points:
- A number of unions in the service, retail and hospitality industries peg their base-line wages to the minimum wage. For some unions it’s simple math, setting baseline union wages as a percentage above the state or federal minimum wage or mandating a flat wage premium above the minimum wage.
- In other cases, the passage of a new minimum wage automatically triggers the re-opening of wage talks and negotiations.
- Furthermore, the increases restrict the ability of businesses to hire low-skilled workers who might gladly work for lower wages in order to gain experience, and thus union workers face less competition from workers who might threaten union jobs.
A cynic might say it’s pay-back by the President for the $174M spent by the unions on the 2012 elections.