Unions have become active in the recent campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15. If successful, the mandatory wage hike will cause some workers, particularly entry-level workers, to lose their jobs. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 570 in Phoenix admitted so much. So why would unions fight for something that will cost them jobs? Because they stand to profit from these wage hikes.
Union dues are calculated as a percentage of each employee’s paycheck. While increasing the minimum wage undoubtedly will cause some entry-level employees to lose their jobs, unions stand to bring in more dues revenue because their cut of each employee’s check will be higher if the wage increase is implemented.
IBEW 570 has a plan for entry-level workers who lose their jobs – it suggests they be put to work rebuilding our country’s infrastructure. Of course, this infrastructure spending would funnel money to unions by providing the displaced employees with union jobs. So are unions fine with the idea that a mother of three who applied for and was hired to work in a fast food restaurant would lose her job because she could get a job working heavy construction on a highway repairing bridges? You bet they are.
Unions may appear to be supporting better wages for workers, but in the end, this is simply another tactic to recruit more union workers and increase union cash flow even if it comes at the expense of union workers lower on the food chain.
Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.