Mayor Emanuel’s minimum wage executive order doesn’t apply to political pals
With great fanfare, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced an executive order requiring city contractors and concessionaires to pay their employees no less than $13 per hour.
None of these news outlets picked up on a how Emanuel’s executive order contains a special crony provision designed to grow the power of Chicago labor unions and their favorite politicians.
Here’s the fine print:
“After the effective date of the Order, its requirements may be waived in a bona fide collective bargaining agreement, but only if the waiver is set forth explicitly in such agreement in clear and unambiguous terms.”
In other words, the executive order of a $13 per hour minimum wage doesn’t apply to labor unions as long as they include a collective bargaining “waiver” in the contract. Employees in labor unions can be paid as little as $8.25 per hour, the statewide minimum wage in Illinois.
The special union minimum-wage waiver isn’t just a Chicago phenomenon. Citing examples in Los Angeles, Milwaukee and Seattle a recent article in The Wall Street Journal illustrated how minimum-wage waivers are an increasingly popular union negotiating tactic across the country.
Maxford Nelsen wrote: “This waiver enables labor organizers to approach a nonunion employer struggling to pay the new minimum with the following offer: assist them in unionizing employees by signing a ‘neutrality agreement,’ for which, in return, the union will use the collective-bargaining waiver to allow the employer to pay less than the new statutory minimum.”
Labor unions are using the heavy hand of government to raise minimum-wage requirements on their competitors, while advocating for lower minimum wages for their own dues-paying members.