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Labor Union Admits Its 'Fight for $15' Campaign Will Kill Jobs

Labor Union Admits Its 'Fight for $15' Campaign Will Kill Jobs
(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 18 May 2015 05:22 PM

A win for labor unions in their "Fight for $15" campaign will mean some workers lose their jobs, a construction union said last week.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 570 in Phoenix admitted "some people" will "lose their jobs" if the mandatory minimum wage is hiked to $15 an hour as union bosses demand.

Can't make a wage mandate omelet without breaking a few entry-level workers' eggs!

This may seem like a bad thing, but IBEW 570 has a plan: Create government work for the people who find themselves unemployed because of Fight for $15.

Defending Fight for $15 as "a collaborative effort" between unions and workers, IBEW 570 said the campaign would cause the economy to grow — and "the displaced could be put to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure."

IBEW and other construction unions in the AFL-CIO coalition are tireless advocates of infrastructure spending, which funnels money to unions through workers' dues. IBEW 570 takes as much as $96 per month from each member.

In an apparent effort to meet a union cliché quota, IBEW 570 continued by bashing "the right," asserting Fight for $15 critics "would rather spend money bombing other countries than helping ours."

Labor union cries for a mandatory $15 minimum wage have found a powerful audience in New York, where Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on a state board to increase the minimum wage for fast-food workers.

Fight for $15 and partner group Fast Food Forward are leveraging Cuomo's support to pressure the state wage board. New York's $8.75 minimum wage is already among the nation's highest.

"When workers win $15 in New York, all workers will win, not just fast-food workers in New York," Service Employees International Union president Mary Kay Henry, a leader of the Fight for $15 campaign, wrote.

"Once fast-food workers are paid $15, workers in retail, home care, and other industries will be even more energized to escalate their fights for higher pay," Henry added.

Those fights for higher pay are orchestrated primarily by SEIU and the United Food & Commercial Workers union — and are increasingly flagrant unionization drives, as protesters demand $15 hourly wages "and a union."

RELATED: Union bosses are lovin' $15-an hour fast-food protests

Technically referred to as "worker centers," Fight for $15, Fast Food Forward, and their regional, state, and local affiliates serve as fronts for unions to recruit new members while pushing policies to otherwise increase unions' cash flow.

The calculation for Henry and her fellow union bosses is simple: Minimum wage hikes will cost some entry-level workers their jobs, but they result in more dues revenue for unions taking a percentage of each worker's paycheck.

According to a Worker Center Watch analysis of U.S. Department of Labor filings, SEIU alone has spent more than $50 million on the Fight for $15 campaign in the past two years.

As IBEW 570 said last week, the Fight for $15 campaign will cause some people to lose their jobs, "but the work still needs to get done." That's not exactly the message Fight for $15 is trying to convince entry-level workers to embrace.

Fight for $15 failed to respond to Watchdog.org questions about IBEW 570's comments.

Jason Hart is Watchdog.org's Ohio-based National Labor Reporter. Contact him at jhart@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @jasonahart.

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A win for labor unions in their Fight for $15 campaign will mean some workers lose their jobs, a construction union said last week.
Labor unions, fight for 15, minimum wage, kill jobs, workers
Monday, 18 May 2015 05:22 PM
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