Earlier this year, the SEIU attempted to ram through a proposal in Cleveland to raise that city’s minimum wage by 85 percent to $15. The Cleveland City Council, consisting of 16 Democrats and 1 Green Party member, overwhelmingly rejected the idea, and even some union leaders opined that it would hurt the city’s progress.
Not satisfied with the democratic outcome, the SEIU threatened to take the issue to the ballot, where they could spend thousands of dollars to paint a misleading picture of the proposal’s impact. To prevent this, Cleveland city officials–led by Democratic City Council Kevin Kelly–asked state lawmakers to pass legislation that would block harmful initiatives like this one. The legislature granted the request, and this week Gov. John Kasich sign the bill.
It’s a simple story, but it’s an unflattering one for unions. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see union-sympathetic reporters this week write headlines like this:
Ohio’s Kasich blocks local control over minimum wage
Cleveland’s minimum wage hike just failed — thanks to lobbyists and Gov. John Kasich
The Policy.Mic story bizarrely blames the American Legislative Exchange Council for the preemption legislation, arguing that it (and Kasich) refused to let “democracy play out in cities like Cleveland…” Of course, democracy did play out in the city–the Council just didn’t vote the way that unions would have hoped.
The post on Rachel Maddow’s blog was equally misleading, suggesting that the state’s preemption law violates “the wishes of…local officials.” Of course, it’s those same local official in Cleveland who asked for the wage preemption, so it’s unlikely that their wishes were violated here.
The Democratic City Council in Cleveland took a stand for economic common sense. The only thing shocking for the SEIU is that it didn’t get its way, which is why it’s now trying to spin a story that didn’t happen.