LA labor leaders are seeking an exemption from the city’s minimum wage law for companies with union employees.
The city-wide minimum wage increase voted on last week by the City Council would raise wages to $15 an hour by 2020. Labor groups now want to create an exemption to the law that would allow flexibility for companies with unions to negotiate a wage below that required by the law. Labor leaders say the proposed exemption would allow businesses and employees to work together to decide on a wage that works for both parties.
However, opponents of the exemption fear it could put pressure on companies into letting their employees unionize as a way to find relief from the mandated wage increase. City-wide businesses are grappling with how they will increase their minimum wage and continue to keep staff and benefits the same. At this point there is no clear answer on the best way for companies to do this.
Should companies with unions be allowed to let their employees vote on their own minimum wage? What implications would this have on the law?
John Logan, Professor of Labor and Employment Studies, San Francisco State University
Ruben Gonzalez, senior vice president for public policy and political affairs with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce