Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

UFCW Promotes CUF Study On Minimum Wage

It’s rare when the Center for Union Facts and labor see eye to eye, at least in public. Sure, we’ve had pro-labor spokespersons like the late George McGovern come out in favor of our principles in the past, but union leaders don’t usually cite our work.

Now, CUF’s research on minimum wage increases and collective bargaining agreements is being promoted by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). The UFCW’s blog post on President Obama’s proposal to increase the minimum wage to $9 explains:

[N]ot only is $9/hour a step in the right direction, it is also good for union members, who stand to seek even greater wage increases in their contracts, if they make more than the current minimum wage of $7.25.

An article in The Washington Free Beacon notes that “many unions in the retail and service industries have negotiated provisions into contracts that would boost union salaries in the event of minimum wage increases, according to a study from labor watchdog Center for Union Facts (CUF).” One of the many advantages of being a union member is that oftentimes, union contracts are triggered to implement wage hikes in the case of minimum wage increases.

Surprisingly, that’s an accurate recounting of our study and what it means for labor. We had only a small set of contracts to review–those voluntarily submitted to the Department of Labor. The UFCW readily admits that the contracts we found were not just rare occurrences, but actually a typical practice. CUF research shows that labor support for a minimum wage hike is not as altruistic as it might seem. They have engineered raises for themselves with the hike.

In this case, we’re glad to agree on the facts, even if we don’t agree with the UFCW’s argument about the effects of the minimum wage. If the misguided proposal ever becomes law, the resulting job losses and hours cut will be on the union bosses head. It wouldn’t be the first time union bosses put politics before workers.

Categories: Center for Union FactsPolitical MoneyUFCW