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Liberal Hypocrisy! Until You Read a Unbiased Report! More Carefully! Which We Hope You Won’t!

May 30th, 2015

Conservative news outlets are going nuts with the story about unions in Los Angeles asking for an exemption from the $15 minimum wage hike in that city. Reading their headlines, it at first appears that unions are trying to get away with paying their own employees less than the new minimum wage or something.

Read a little bit further, and you might get the information that this has something to do with bargaining purposes, but you also get exposed to rhetoric about how the unions are arrogant, overbearing, and hypocritical, and probably hurting their own workers for a corrupt power grab. What it boils down to is, “Unions bad!! Unions hypocrites!! Unions Corrupt and Evil!!!

After all that, after moving the needle for the national press in their direction as well, they are hoping that you won’t notice how nonsensical their claims are, or that you will not read the details enough to discover that the exemption is not only reasonable but actually makes good sense.


Unions seek exemption from LA minimum wage law they helped pass

Union leaders in Los Angeles are being accused of hypocrisy after being caught trying to exempt themselves from a new minimum wage law they tried to impose on others.

The Washington Times:

L.A. labor leaders seek $15 minimum-wage exemption for union allies

Labor leaders in Los Angeles who pushed for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 are now seeking an exemption — for unionized companies.


Hypocrisy Thy Name Is Union; Unions Demand Exemption From LA’s $15 Minimum Wage

This is really quite glorious as a display of sheer naked chutzpah. …The unions are now insisting that that $15 an hour should not actually be the minimum wage in workplaces where unions are involved. Unionised shops should be allowed to set the wage lower than $15 if that’s what they want to do. This could be described as chutzpah, as I have above. It could also be described as repulsively naked arrogance, your choice there.

The Daily Caller:

Los Angeles Unions Like The New Minimum Wage, For Everybody But Them

Despite advocating for the Los Angeles minimum wage increase, some of the same union leaders are now asking to be exempt for negotiation purposes.


LA Unions Lobby for Exemption From $15/Hr. Minimum Wage Law They Pushed

This has to be the month’s top entry in the “Just when you think you’ve seen it all” category — and it will be more than a little interesting to see how the nation’s press handles it.

After reading further down in each article, you get to the assertion that unions are doing this as a corrupt and hypocritical way to boost their own power. The idea is that if unions lower the wages for their workers for a business, any business that wants to be competitive (or just escape the soul-crushing burden of paying workers a livable wage) will be oppressively forced into accepting union dominance and control in their fragile workplace.


Perhaps not surprisingly, a good chunk of the mainstream media is reporting it this way as well, and even the coverage that isn’t is doing such a poor job of explaining the rationale behind the move that it is easy to just assume the unions are being hypocrites.

However, if you read carefully enough and in the right places, you discover the real reason: flexibility that will help people get better conditions that will actually be more favorable to small businesses.

Evil! It’s pure, unadul—wait, what? Favorable to small businesses? And to workers? What’s the catch?

First of all, the exemption isn’t mandatory, it is only an optional adjustment if the situation warrants.

Second, this is not something “for” unions only, nor is it something that unions “get” or can force on businesses. If a business refuses to cooperate, the reduction never happens. The reduction only applies if both the business and the workers can agree on it.

Third, it only applies to union shops because the entire idea is that it allows workers and employers to work out a deal that is beneficial to both parties, but without union protections, businesses can and usually do force workers to take cuts without any benefits. The union-only exemption is the only way to make such deals work without employees getting shafted.

And finally, this is most advantageous to both workers and businesses because it allows them to come to a deal that is flexible and allows the best possible deal for both parties. Despite the garbage that Fox & Co. are trying to sell, unions and worker organizations are not so stupid that they want to destroy the businesses where their workers are employed.

Quite the contrary, they want them to be prosperous—a fact that conservatives routinely get wrong, just like their belief that lower taxes for the wealthy will improve the economy. Unions well understand that a more prosperous company can mean more prosperous workers, and even some smart business leaders understand that costs to better the lives of employees today will lead to far better profits in the future.

Conservatives claim that massive numbers of small businesses will collapse if they are forced to pay a higher minimum wage; while this is an obvious lie, it remains true that some very specific businesses will be too stressed with the wage hike as mandated by law. The union exemption allows businesses to negotiate a deal with workers that allows the business to remain healthy while giving workers as close to the living wage as needed.

In other cases, workers might be better off with alternative compensation, including specific health plans, retirement savings, or other workplace changes that would be just as valuable to them while also being a more reasonable alternative for the employer.

You see, it is about negotiation, something conservatives despise when it means workers can get something out of it. However, when practiced freely (the part of the “free” market conservatives hate), negotiation can benefit everyone and lead to a more prosperous workplace.

So, why do conservatives hate it? Partly because it will also benefit unions, which they abhor with a passion because they are supporters of the Democratic Party (never mind that unions also are the only free-market force which strives for the benefit of the working stiff). Partly because it means that businesses couldn’t shaft their workers for ever-more immediate profits. The main reason conservatives are ranting and raving now, however, is because they can. They have a story which, while reasonable when explained clearly, can easily be skewed to make it look like unions are evil hypocrites.

So, naturally, they are running with it, milking it for all they can.

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  1. kensensei
    June 7th, 2015 at 11:07 | #1

    Great post, Luis. More Right Wing anti-union propaganda.

    You know, I love hearing the term “Union Thugs” repeatedly when a Right Wing voter is trying to make a cohesive argument against unions. It seems to be the only word they can come up with to denounce unions, and so they use it over an over. Just one flaw in their argument, however; I have been a member of the AFT union since 1993 and have yet to meet a single “thug”. There may be “thugs” in some parts of the country, but there are bad elements in all levels of society, not excluding unions.

    Labor unions represent a semblance of democracy in the workplace. Plain and simple. People who denounce unions should remember who brought them child labor laws, whistle-blower laws, paid vacations, overtime pay, and, of course, your weekend. Those are federal labor standards, and many of them do not exist in third-world countries because the corporate “thugs” won’t allow unions to exist.

    “Exaggerate and obfuscate” should be the new GOP mantra. As your analysis points out, those are two things they do very well.


  2. Troy
    June 19th, 2015 at 13:47 | #2

    So on the Mac front I made a frankenmac!

    Got a decent motherboard, 16GB of RAM, 3.5 ~ 3.9GHz i5 (4690K), suitable power supply . . . Reused my previous PC’s case, dead Mac Pro’s HD and SSD, and old 5770, also from the windows box. Monitor is the 24″ Cinema Display from 2008.

    So for $600 plus tax I was able to cobble together the equivalent of a $2800 retina iMac, minus the retina display.

    Apple wanted the same to resurrect my dead 2008 MBP, I didn’t even ask how much the Mac Pro would cost to fix since mountain lion was the end of the line for that anyway.

    Mavericks operation has been thus-far flawless, and I’ve been seeing a nasty hang in 10.11 but I hope that’s just pre-release problems,

    I used “Clover” to do the install and it went pretty painlessly.


    Is the boxes.


    Is the machine running. I went for quiet, and it’s indeed pretty quiet, until the 5770’s fans kick in . . .

  3. Luis
    June 20th, 2015 at 23:00 | #3

    I gotta look into that—my students in our computer club have wanted to try out Hackintosh for a while now… but of course, they never want to do the work, they just want me to do it, or drag them into it…

  4. Troy
    June 21st, 2015 at 11:22 | #4

    Key thing is the motherboard, I think all Z97 and H97 versions are pretty Mac-compatible, but previously Gigabyte were apparently the most compatible.

    (Macs require something called the “MSR” to be unlocked, and Gigabyte’s has always been unlocked, while other makers like ASRock have recently added cfg_unlock BIOS setting to unlock the MSRs)

    I was strongly tempted by the:


    that’s a really great motherboard, with 2 PCIE 3.0 slots AND a PCIe 3.0 4X connection for the M.2 SSD.

    4x PCIe 3.0 M.2 is really great, it’s what Apple is using in their 2015 products:


    In the end though I think I’ll be getting a Mac next year once Skylake comes out (Skylake has about 5X the chipset bandwidth vs. Haswell), so I decided this build is a stop-gap and I shouldn’t worry about expandability but just compatibility, so I went with:


    newegg listing says version 1.0 but they sent me a 1.1, difference being the cool LED lighting:


    on the board. The be quiet! fan is in fact pretty quiet, as is the Seasonic 550W “G Series” P/ S I got.

    The PCIe card with the big gold heatsink is this:


    doesn’t require any drivers since it’s got (allegedly, it’s from China after all) a bona fide Apple networking card on it. Works pretty good, other than my “magic mouse” getting squirrelly when I had a big DL going on.

    Another native BT4 solution is:


    this is also plug and play, if you don’t need 802.11 Wifi.

    I spent several weeks picking the parts for this build, and was waiting for WWDC, both for any news of a cool Mac (nothing!), and also what “rootless” security was going to be and how that impacted Hackintoshing.

    turns out for 10.10 you need “kext-dev-mode=1” and for 10.11 you just need “rootless=0”.

    Not too bad, though Apple can try to close the door on this at any time by removing these options.

    The Clover approach is pretty sophisticated, it is using EFI’s file system features to surreptitiously “inject” non-signed kernel extensions (“kexts”) into /System/Library/Extensions even though the kexts remain on the /EFI partition.

    This is great since new OS updates from Apple don’t screw up the unsigned kexts.

    I only need two kexts, FakeSMC.kext which is Apple’s main copy-protection kext (now that the OS is totally free maybe they don’t care about this so much), and also a Intel ethernet kext to get the onboard ethernet port working (this is necessary to access the Mac store, since — I guess — the ethernet port is part of the machine’s “fingerprint” Apple uses to assign a unique identity to the Mac).

    Great fun thus far. Only gotcha that I had to debug was my Install Yosemite.app was bound to the 2008 MacBook Pro that I had got it for, so I had to boot the machine as a MacBookPro5,1 product ID (easy via Clover) to get the installer to boot.

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