Oregon’s state Legislature wrapped-up session without addressing the issue of raising the minimum wage. But, that hasn’t fazed $15 minimum wage activists. In fact, Oregon voters can expect a ballot measure seeking to increase the minimum to $15 an hour in the near future.
Given the expected ballot measure, the Oregonian editorial board recently warned voters to “listen closely to the rhetoric that will come out of these efforts and consider whether the claims can be applied to the workplace in a practical, consistent manner.” When one does just that, it becomes easy to see the disingenuous nature of the $15 minimum wage movement. The Oregonian,
“Even some minimum-wage advocates are finding it hard to live by the rules they propose. One recent example, pointed out by Portland public affairs consultant Cody McLaughlin: Advocacy group Working America advertised through Facebook for field managers for the $15 minimum wage campaign. McLaughlin asked what the pay was. The answer: $12.25 an hour, increasing to $15 after 90 days…
“[Working America] essentially is offering a probationary wage for the first 90 days… The problem is that most ballot measures and legislative proposals backed by Working America and similar groups don’t include exceptions for probationary or training wages.”
Working America is an affiliated organization of the AFL-CIO. Its job posting exposes a reality $15 minimum wage advocates refuse to recognize: their cause is impractical. But, that’s not where the hypocrisy ends. As Shift has reported, the $15 minimum wage is also—more often than not—applied in an inconsistent manner. Businesses affiliated with unions get away with not paying the high wage due to exemptions in $15 per hour laws. The Oregonian,
“Politically, the $15 wage push is, in part, a response to declining unionization. Unions trust themselves to negotiate a fair wage but they don’t trust employers to pay unrepresented workers fairly. That is hardly a new sentiment, but seeking government mandates has become easier than organizing workforces.
“The requests for exemptions also seek to give unions wiggle room they are not offering non-union businesses. If they thought a $15 wage would hurt workers because of layoffs or reduced hours, they would be able to negotiate a lower wage. Economically, that makes a lot of sense – so much sense that all employers should be able to operate that way. If $15 is too high for some employers, it is too high to be a government-mandated minimum wage.”
Taking the Oregonian’s line of reasoning a step forward, $15 wage push is also a response to declining unionization because it makes unionization more attractive to businesses. Part of unions’ motivation behind pushing for $15 minimum wage, all while seeking an exemption from it, is to encourage “employers to become union shops in order to take advantage of the exemptions.” Unionization becomes the “low cost option for employers to avoid paying the otherwise mandated benefits.”
The $15 minimum wage push is, at its core, a hypocritical movement run by hypocrites with self-serving motivations. Voters beware.