5/27/15, "L.A. labor leaders seek minimum wage exemption for firms with union workers," LA Times,
advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create
an exemption for companies with unionized workforces. of the citywide
minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City
push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for
companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest
unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation
to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.
much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against
special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who
said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.
But Rusty Hicks,
who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the
Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers
represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that
mandated by the law.
"With a collective bargaining agreement, a
business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for
them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is
important to them," Hicks said in a statement. "This provision gives the
parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that
is a good thing."
representatives said the proposed exemption would ensure the city
complies with federal laws which they say give collective bargaining
agreements precedence over local ordinances. They also contend that it
would keep L.A.'s ordinance consistent with previous city wage laws.
business leaders criticized the proposal, however, calling it ironic in
light of union leaders' past opposition to special considerations for
refer everyone back to the statements of labor leaders over the past
seven months that no one deserves a sub-minimum wage," said Ruben
Gonzalez, senior vice president for public policy and political affairs
with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the minimum
wage increase passed by the City Council.
Gonzalez said the
change sought by labor officials could pressure companies into letting
employees unionize as a way to seek relief from the mandated wage hike.
again, the soaring rhetoric of helping the working poor is just a cover
for city government acting as a tool of organized labor," he said.
City Council voted last week to gradually increase the hourly minimum
wage to $15 over the next five years. Since then, City Atty. Mike Feuer
has prepared an ordinance that would put the increases into effect. The
council's Economic Development Committee is scheduled to review the
language on Friday.
Last fall, the council approved an ordinance increasing the minimum wage at large hotels
to $15.37 per hour. That law says that provisions of the hotel wage
hike may be waived in workplaces that have collective bargaining
agreements." via Free Rep.