Home / Free Market / DOA: Unions Push for a $15 Minimum Wage
Print Friendly and PDF

DOA: Unions Push for a $15 Minimum Wage

Written by Gary North on December 2, 2013

This week, fast food workers are striking in 100 cities. They are striking for a federal minimum wage law. . It will be a one-day strike. It’s really a protest, not a strike.

The strike will demonstrate clearly that the trade union movement has no power. There will be very few workers involved. It will not hurt the restaurants. People will cross the picket lines without giving it a thought.

Congress will see once again that there is no support for the minimum wage among voters.

In preparation for this strike, the CBS news show “Sunday Morning” did its lead segment on December 1 on the need for a minimum wage. You can see it below. The only economist interviewed was Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor under Clinton. Reich is a big proponent of the minimum wage law, unlike the vast majority of academic economists, who understand the economic effect of price floors: a labor glut and greater unemployment.

Reich reported that the labor union movement has only 7% of the private sector wage force today (3:20 in the video). That is to say, it is finished. Total union membership, including government unions, was never higher than one-third, and that was in the mid-1950s. He did not mention this.

The show featured a divorced woman with two children who has not had a raise in years. She works for McDonald’s. She is a protester.

This is another case of the error called “the fallacy of the things not seen.  The CBS news show did not seek out people who are willing to work for less than the minimum wage, and who are not allowed to because of the law. They are unemployed as a result. With an unemployment rate of 7.3%, there are millions of these victims of the minimum wage law. But liberal media never interview them.

The show tried to get interviews with Costco, McDonald’s, Walmart, and other firms. Only Walmart consented.

Each of these huge firms should hire at least one media-savvy spokesman with a Ph.D. in economics. They should pay to have PR firms train these people. Then the spokesmen should come on screen and hammer at this: a minimum wage law discriminates against poor workers who want jobs. The economist should say this: “Are you in favor of the government keeping non-union members from getting jobs at wages they are willing to work for?” Of course the interviewer is in favor of this. This has been the basis for the union movement ever since the early days of Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1933. But business owners are so terrified of economically ignorant and insecure reporters whose careers are in jeopardy that they refuse to send spokesmen to be interviewed.

It is so easy to make the case against the minimum wage, but the hapless businessmen who run America’s largest employers are conceptually challenged. They do not understand the free market economics case against price floors. They do not understand the basics of public relations on economic issues.

The Walmart man did point out that when Walmart asked for applicants in Washington, D.C., 6,000 people showed up (7:40).

What saves them is Congress, which is gridlocked. The House will not vote to raise the minimum wage.

What also saves them is an unemployment rate of 7.3%. Karl Marx called this “the reserve army of the unemployed.” The union movement is dead. There are millions of people ready to work.

The union movement has been shrinking for 60 years. Liberals like Robert Reich still cannot come to grips with this.

The steady erosion of the unions’ government-created monopoly power is one of the great victories of the free market in our lifetimes.

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

19 thoughts on “DOA: Unions Push for a $15 Minimum Wage

  1. sean murry says:

    Go ahead walk out your jobs i would fire them.

  2. Excellent point ("people **prevented** by law from working for less than minimum wage"). Not only would a $15 minimum wage increase unemployment, it would hurt the very people the clueless intends to help. Enforced "feel good" cliches are replacing realities that actually help the poor. Another example? "Energy prices will necessarily skyrocket" (Obama 2008). Who is hurt most by $3.25 gas prices? The working poor. Someone making $75000 a year can afford $60 to fill the tank. Another making $25,000 may not. Another example? College students losing university health coverage, and not able to afford the premiums and deductibles of Obama's brainchild. What college student has $4000 in medical expenses per year — when benefits actually kick in (few if none), and that at only 70% of the cost above $4000? And pay $400/month for this "coverage"?

    The only thing Obama has left is the lingering and oft repeated lie of "health insurance for every American." Ideological pap that has been shown false by realities around every Thanksgiving table in America. Hollywood pundits only make themselves look foolish in their slavish support ads for the "Dreams of my Marxist Father" president.

  3. Good idea right ofter we receive our 100% increase in our SSA annuity [not payment]
    I paid for that retirement package at the maximum limit and rate for each calendar year from 1956 until I retired in 2001. At zero invested interest, that annuity must assume my life expectancy is 102 years.

  4. Actually, I didn't see any chains rtestraining anyone from quitting!

  5. The Unions need to go If they walk out on there jobs fier them there are alot of people that need work lets stop these union thugs and get everyone out of the union they are thugs and are takeing your money so they can live like kings wake up people before you all loose your union job and your pentions They dont care about you If a company gos under because of them then you will be out. Look at all the jobs they have sent to other countrys and the ones that went under like hostess get out of the unions before you loose everything

  6. Texas Chris says:

    Wrong. Social Security was a mugger holding a gun to your head in an alley. Did he promise to pay you back later? He lied. The money's gone, and you, you greedy schmuck, are now calling for more muggers to go out and rob your children and grandchildren to finance your retirement.

  7. A job? They are lucky someone is paying them to put tomato on bread.

  8. Re a "living wage," it's not the employer's responsibility if the poor have more children than they can afford.

    The CBS Sunday Morning segment sounded like it was written by the ghost of Ellsworth Toohey, and was another exercise in the fallacy of "the Argument from Piety," which "liberal" State-humpers love.

  9. well the grocery stores will put in more self checkout machines and lay off checkers , the fast food places will raise the cost of food to compensate for the increased labor cost and will loose sales , who will pay 10 dollars for a big mac and they dont accept the food stamp cards

  10. When I took my first job as a busboy, the federal minimum wage was $1.60/hour. However, my wily employer classified me as a tipped employee (which I wasn't — I was in the kitchen washing dishes, not out front waiting tables), so my real hourly rate was 80 cents/hour.

    I can't blame all employers for being unfair to their workers. The Federal Reserve sets the (destructive) monetary policy, and because Congress thinks there's no better way to run an economy, private industry must do business in the coin of the realm.

  11. Isn't it interesting that as much as 'everyone' hates Wal-mart, they ALWAYS have at least SEVERAL applicants for every job opening.

  12. At $15.00/hr, robots become less expensive that teenagers. The ONLY reason fast food workers haven't been replaced by robots is the robots are still more expensive. Robots ALREADY do everything fast food workers do, and have for more than a decade.

  13. TexRancher says:

    Unions once again are acting for the benefit of their honchos, not the common employee who will either see his hours reduced or the employer saying we just can't afford to stay in business. The unions aren't addressing the fact of life that these minimum wage jobs are primarily for low info folks who cannot qualify for higher employment do to lack of education and/or experience. They are steeping stones for those who are willing to work for a higher type of employment. They aren't really intended to be career positions. Never were.

  14. TexRancher says:

    Social security was corrupted from "voluntary with a max. contribution" to mandatory. Then LBJ and demos following him started raiding Social Security and leaving us with a bucket load of worthless IOUs! This was democrat robbery from the get go!

  15. There is a reason why the minimum wage cannot be a "living wage". Liberals can't understand this simple concept.

  16. Tinkerbell_35 says:

    Sean, amen! If my employees walked off the job, they wouldn't have a job the next day. Do liberals ever think what a hamburger would cost if the minimum wage was increased 'over' 100%?

  17. As I understand Minimum Wage law, it prohibits employers from hiring anyone for less than some arbitrary. emotional amount determined by phony compassion. The law will ONLY help Labor Union members whose contracts are tied to minimum wage laws. It will hurt the consumer as well as the poor, unskilled and unemployed – thus increasing food stamp recipients while decreasing the number who can find jobs . Virtually, everyone loses on the deal except politicians who are supported by Unions and the terminally gullible .

  18. In my job, I have to be able to answer phones, schedule appointments, print reports, open new accounts, assist people with questions on their accounts, trouble shoot & fix problems & errors, the list goes on.. and I don't even make $15/hour.. If people with no skills working at McDonalds suddenly start making $15/hour, what will that do to the millions of jobs in this country that require more skills than to just take a food order & make change? Every other job in this country would have to be repriced as well.. No one will pay someone $15/hour to do such low-skilled work.. If you want that kind of wages, You have to bring more to the table! You don't deserve $15/hour simply because you have a pulse! I'm sorry!

  19. i cant spel or punctu8 lissen to me becuz im ssmart