NYC is Passing Outrageous Laws that Benefit Unions

Car Wash Licenses Cost Ten Times as Much for Non-Union Companies

Local Law 62 was passed by the City Council and signed by Mayor de Blasio in 2015 during a period of intense labor organizing among the city’s roughly 150 car wash companies, many of which are staffed by immigrant, non-union workers. The law made it illegal to operate car wash without a license and gave financial incentives to car wash companies that employed union workers. To get a license, companies need to post a bond which was a guarantee of solvency to cover workers’ wages. Companies whose employees were represented by a union posted a $30,000 bond. Companies whose employees were not represented by a union posted a $150,000 bond.

Thankfully, a federal judge shot down Local Law 62 because it “explicitly encourages unionization” and imposed an unfair burden on car wash companies where workers were not part of organized labor.”

This reminds of the inflated minimum wage laws that have spread across the country in cities like Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Washington D.C. Those laws have two sets of minimum wages: a minimum wage for union employees and a higher minimum wage for non-union employees. The goal for those laws is to make unionization the less expensive way to do business.  in Los Angeles:

Fast Food Workers Can Payroll Deduct Donations to a Charity of their Choice

New York City Council approved a bill allowing fast-food employers to withhold up to $12 per month from a worker’s paycheck and remit that amount to the “non-profit organization” of the employee’s choice. The purpose of this legislation, per Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-Queens) is “to make it easier for employees to support advocacy organizations working on their behalf.”

While the bill expressly states that money collected is not to go to a union, it likewise expressly states that the money can be funneled to Fight for $15. This is clever. If all fast food workers made the maximum contribution, the SEIU (who thus far has spent $90 million on the failed Fight for $15 campaign) stands to receive over $9 million per year in “contributions.”

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 285-5342 or emailing him at 

Fast Food Workers and Pot Pushers are the Same Thing to Unions

Tomorrow is supposed to be a nationwide fast food worker strike. Organized by worker centers representing labor unions, this strike is the latest outburst by unions seeking to organize the largely non-union fast food industry.

With union membership at (or near) an historic low, unions are trying to organize fast food workers and newly legalized marijuana dealers with equal vigor. Using a play on words, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka – the man who talks to the White House every day – recently said, “to be blunt, our basic system of workplace representation is failing to meet the needs of America’s workers by every critical measure.”

Targeting fast food workers has been a new goal of unions. Hundreds of McDonald’s, Burger King, and workers from other chains have walked off their jobs in a series of strikes across the country to demand upwards of $15/hour. In fact, boosting wages of fast food workers is the primary goal of the SEIU – whose former President visited the White House more often than any other person during President Obama’s first year in office. Are you noticing an access to the Obama White House trend, here?

While organizing the fast food industry remains a goal, unions have had success getting marijuana dealers to organize. The UFCW, the nation’s largest union for retail workers, claims several thousand marijuana dealers are now dues paying members. These dealers are allegedly seeking to legitimize their industry and secure a pension at the same time. Um, they should be careful what they wish for.

Regardless whether through Big Macs or Mary Jane, unions need to increase their membership before becoming inconsequential. And to unions, the fast food worker pushing burgers and fries is the same as the drug dispensary worker selling White Widow (thank you Internet) – a monthly dues check. Unions cannot exist without dues checks; they are, after all, a business just like the ones they bad mouth.

Matt Austin is a Columbus, Ohio lawyer who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm with offices in central and northeast Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can always call Matt at 614.843.3041 or email him at