On Wednesday, July 24th, union-backed activist groups are staging a “day of action” to push for a higher minimum wage. These rallies get only half the story right: A day of action is needed, but it’s needed for the victims of a higher minimum wage.
The labor unions who are bankrolling these nationwide rallies are ignoring the real stories of employees and business owners who have been harmed by this misguided policy. Immortalized in our nation’s newspapers are dozens of examples of layoffs, cutbacks, and other negative effects of minimum wage hikes that have been well- documented by economic research.
The businesses hurt are often small, local establishments, a fact that proponents of a higher minimum wage would like you to forget. In one report, they dishonestly claim that “large corporations” employ the majority of people working at the minimum wage. In fact, their report shows that one-third of these employees work at businesses with less than 100 employees, and two-thirds do not – it says nothing about “large corporations.” A business with just over 100 employees could just as well be a small restaurant franchisee with 5 locations, or a regional grocery chain with 3 locations.
The “day of action” on wage hikes might grab media attention, but the past harm this policy has caused – and the harm it could cause in the future – should be a sobering reminder that good- sounding policies can have unintended consequences.