Unions and the Minimum Wage

Michael Barone is terrific but I think today he blundered.  He said in his NRO column:

I take a somewhat different view. Over many decades, union leaders have supported legislation that extends to non-members benefits unions have secured for members.

They have consistently supported higher minimum wages — arguably because they bump up (already higher) union wages — ignoring the strong evidence that higher minimums reduce low-skill employment.

It is the first item he cites.  Most of the rest of them I might be convinced on but not the first.  Unions support minimum wage for the same reason that Walmart generally does.  Minimum wage makes it more difficult for the competition.  Walmart can’t always support the minimum wage because Walmart is large and the damage to the economy by the minimum wage might offset the other benefits.  Of course, in the case of Washington DC, when the minimum wage is exorbitant and essentially only for Walmart then they must resist.  Minimum wage is way to exclude low skill individuals from the labor market and protect the the high wage individuals and organizations.


3 thoughts on “Unions and the Minimum Wage

    • I like your facts but the “the reason” is less convincing. It seems to me it is a reason why some unions support minimum wage. They all benefit from reducing competition. We both disagree with Barone that unions are being altruistic in supporting increases in the minimum wage.

      • I understand the competition angle, but it seems like that “bigger picture” thing would be beyond the grasp of the typical union leader.

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