Many organized labor leaders, who earn substantially more than the workers they represent, are advocating for a minimum wage exemption for union workers. According to The Wall Street Journal, many of the communities that have recently increased the minimum wage have this union exemption:
“More than 20 U.S. cities and counties, recently including Los Angeles and Kansas City, Mo., have set minimum wages above state and federal levels. … In at least a half-dozen of those communities, the pay-floor ordinances include a provision allowing unions to waive the wage mandates as part of a collective-bargaining agreement.”
But why would a union boss fight for a higher minimum wage and then also fight to exempt union workers from that increased wage? This strategy incentivizes nonunion businesses to unionize and therefore not have to pay higher wages:
“They point to the unionization in 2013 of two Hyatt hotels in Long Beach, Calif.—the Hyatt Regency Long Beach and the Pike Long Beach—following the passage of a living-wage ordinance in that city that raised base pay for hotel workers to $13 an hour, while union workers could be exempted from the minimum. Workers elected to be represented by Unite Here Local 11 following a long and contentious campaign against those two hotels by that union, which included a boycott.”
Unions are shrinking fast and getting desperate for new schemes to find new members, even if it means fighting for less than minimum wage for those new members.