Union officials in Los Angeles are fighting to be excluded from minimum wage rules that they have lobbied to put in place.
Los Angeles city council is set to vote on a union-backed clause to its $15-an-hour minimum wage bill that would exempt workers covered by a collective bargaining contract. The debate is expected to start later this week when the council returns from summer recess.
In May, the Los Angeles city council voted in favor of raising minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. As the council prepared for a final vote on the legislation, the Los Angeles Times reported local union leaders had suggested an exemption that was common for such laws: to make companies with unionized workforces exempt from such wage increase.
The proposal was made by Rusty Hicks, executive secretary-treasurer at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. Hicks has been a leading voice for raising the minimum wage. He declined to comment for this story, referring the Guardian to previously released statements when he first introduced the proposal for the exemption clause.
Hicks has previously argued that in collective bargaining agreements, business owners and employees can “prioritize what is important to them”. Under the proposed clause, the unionized workers would be paid whatever their contracted hourly wage was even if the local minimum wage were raised to higher.