**Posted by Phineas
“But at least we raised the minimum wage! Obama!!”
Fresno is fifth-largest city in California, the largest that’s not on the coast, and the largest in the Central Valley, that agricultural cornucopia that’s being destroyed by drought and environmentalist idiocies.
But don’t get me started on that.
Anyway, just by its position and population Fresno is important to the state’s economy, particularly our agricultural sector. (Where do you think your raisins come from?) But, like much of the Central Valley, it’s suffered more than the rest of California from the 2008 recession and the pathetic recovery: unemployment in the Fresno area in 2014 was still over 11%, well above California’s statewide average of 7.1% at the end of that year.
So, when your city is suffering from a lack of jobs, what’s the first thing you think of to increase opportunities for work?
That’s right! You demand an increase to the cost of labor!
On Wednesday, according to the Fresno Bee, over 150 people joined other workers around the country marking Tax Day by marching in rallies organized by unions as they demanded the current federal minimum wage of $7.24 an hour be raised, as well as the California $9 minimum wage.
Standing in front of a McDonald’s, the protesters–comprised of home and child care workers, county and state workers, students and community leaders, but no fast-food workers–chanted, “Hold the burgers, hold the fries. Make our wages super-sized.”
Union members from the Services Employees International (SEIU) helped lead the way; one member, Beau Reynolds with SEIU Local 100, told the Bee, “We’re here to stand up. We’re here to join forces and we are here to demand better. To demand better wages, to demand better benefits and to demand the right and respect that all working families deserve.”
Notice that none of those protesting in front of McD’s actually work there: they’re just there in service of SEIU’s political goal, which is to get a general increase in the minimum wage, which would include the union’s members, leading in turn to higher dues-revenues for the union to spend on politics. (And union bosses’ salaries…)
But the fast-food workers on the inside? The ones inside who didn’t march, the supposed beneficiaries of SEIU’s fight for economic justice? Apparently they know what happens when you raise labor costs too high:
“Welcome to the future”
In other words, when government raises the cost of doing business —and labor is a cost!— business owners have just a few choices: pass the cost to the consumer and risk losing their custom; reduce profits to perhaps unacceptably low levels; reduce labor costs by cutting back hours, letting people go, and not hiring; or just getting out of the business. They’re already learning this in progressive Seattle, and it looks like the Fresno McDonald’s workers understand basic economics, too, unlike SEIU.
Or maybe SEIU just doesn’t care that fast food workers can be replaced with kiosks, as long as they themselves get their cut.
Either way, they’re not helping Fresno county’s unemployment problem.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)