In Massachusetts, the legislature is considering raising the state-mandated minimum wage from $6.75 an hour. The measure’s proponents want it hiked to $7.75.
Now, I’m not going to go into the pluses or minuses of the increase, or whether we even should have a minimum wage. (I don’t believe so, but that’s a topic for another time.) The real story here is how a certain organization reacted to the proposal.
The Massachusetts AFL-CIO (400,000 members) likes the idea of raising the minimum wage (big surprise there), but that buck an hour ain’t enough for them. They want it raised to $8.25 (about 60% above the federal minimum wage), and they’re putting their money where their mouth is: they won’t endorse any candidates until after the vote.
This is a naked power play. The union is saying that it wants not only a higher minimum wage, but the highest in the nation — and future increases automatically tied to the rate of inflation. And if they don’t, woe to the lawmakers who didn’t heed their demands.
Unions have a fine and noble history. They are responsible for many good things, and brought about many needed reforms. But they can’t continue to exploit their past glories to excuse their current excesses. From hiring scabs to do their picketing for them to this flagrant shakedown of lawmakers, “from the people who brought you the two-day weekend” only goes so far.