Two executive board members of UFCW 21—a union with members working in grocery stores, retail, health care and other industries—recently wrote an op-ed for the Seattle Times demanding a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave for “all workers.” The union executives make it clear that they want these policies to be extended to all, “regardless of whether the person is a union member or not.” They write,
“Things need to change and that’s why we have been pushing for increased wages and benefits in our state and nation’s capitols. We’re making progress. The state House recently passed statewide paid sick days and a higher minimum wage.
“Unfortunately, the House votes were strictly along party lines — Democrats for, Republicans against — and the bill didn’t go anywhere in the Republican-controlled Senate…”
Either these UFCW executive board members are blissfully unaware of unions exempting themselves from these laws and do not know how their union negotiates contracts, or they are intentionally deceiving readers. In all likelihood, it’s the latter. As Shift has reported, the minimum wage and paid sick leave legislation that was brought before the state Legislature contained an exemption provision for labor unions. The writers have to know of the exemption.
Labor unions’ willingness to cut their members out of these workers’ rights revealed the true motivation behind the legislation—that was to encourage “employers to become union shops in order to take advantage of the exemptions.” The bill would have made unionization a “low cost option for employers to avoid paying the otherwise mandated benefits.” Of course, more unionized employers means more union members which means more union dues, which means more campaign money for Democrat politicians.
Labor-backed Democrats in the state Senate only further confirmed the true propose of the minimum wage/paid sick leave bills when they rejected a second bill—presented by Senate Republicans—that sought to level the playing field and offer workers’ rights to all by eliminating the exemptions. The reality is that Democrats and big labor do not want these policies to be extended to “all workers.”
The op-ed writers are, in every sense, deceiving the very public they are claiming to be working for by failing to present the whole truth.