By Collin Roth
One union front group pushing a study from another union front group. No surprise here.
Wisconsin Jobs Now!, an SEIU organization part of the Fight For A Fair Economy campaign, recently touted a new “study” from the Economic Policy Institute showing that raising the minimum wage would create jobs.
The Economic Policy Institute reports that raising the minimum wage to $9.80 would create 100,000 new jobs across the country and up to 1,800 in Wisconsin due to an increase of $25 billion to the national GDP. Of course, this understanding of wages stems from a belief that employers are greedily hoarding profits and that arbitrarily increasing worker pay would have no adverse effects on business. But this thinking defies any logical economic thinking. According to the MacIver Institute, increases in the minimum wage in Wisconsin have served to increase teen unemployment by nearly 28% over the last decade. MacIver Institute‘s President Brett Healy said “Raising the minimum wage prevents teens and other low-skilled workers access to the ground floor of the workforce, which potentially increases their draw on federally-backed financial aid for higher education and ultimately for food stamps, Medicaid and other programs.”
With such an innocent sounding name like the Economic Policy Institute, it would stand to reason that this might be a serious study (despite the obvious flaws central to it’s reasoning). But with just the slightest bit of digging, one quickly discovers that the Economic Policy Institute is Big Labor’s very own bought-and-paid-for think tank.
The Economic Policy Institute’s Board of Directors feature AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka as Chairman, President of the SEIU Mary Kay Henry, President of the United Steelworkers of America Leo Gerard, President of the Communications Workers of America Larry Cohen, the President of the International Association of Machinists and Allied Workers R. Thomas Buffenbarger, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Joseph T. Hanson, President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, President of AFSCME Gerald W. McEntee , and Bob King the President of the UAW. In addition to nearly every major labor union’s president, the Economic Policy Institute’s Board of Directors also features Ernesto J. Cortes of the Industrial Areas Foundation, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) who leads the Progressive Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, former Sec. of Labor Robert Reich, and a host of other pro-labor academics and activists.
According to the Economic and Policy Institute, the organization receives around 53% of their funding from foundation grants and another 29% from labor unions.
Wisconsin Jobs Now! recently hosted a Day of Action in Milwaukee to demonstrate in favor of raising the minimum wage.