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Measure N As In 'NO' Way Jose

From Issue: Volume XX - Number 22
11/2/2012


By Taylor Ramsey

Long Beach residents will be voting on Measure “N” Tuesday, which is referred to as the “Living Wage” law. The bill would force hotels with 100 plus rooms to pay their workers a minimum of $13 an hour which is $5 more than California’s current minimum wage. Measure N also mandates an automatic 2% raise every year.
However, the mandated wages and automatic increases would be eliminated if the hotel decided to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with the union.

If you vote in favor of this law you will be forcing hotels to pay higher wages no matter how their business is performing and you will be holding the hotel hostage via higher operating expenses to force them to enter into union contracts. Bingo … all hotel guests will pay higher room and restaurant/catering rates in order to provide “artificial” wages.

This is another law designed (this time by unions) to take personal responsibility away from the wage earner and place the responsibility of finding a way to earn more on the rest of us. Don’t worry, no need to make decisions in your life to improve your situation and be accountable for your status, the union and this new law will mandate you will make more and everything will be OK.

Not all jobs are meant to provide a living wage. People earn living wages first by gaining experience in a job that does not pay a living wage. They earn it by becoming educated through college, trade schools, apprenticeships and just plain experience. The key word here is earn.

The free market will determine the pay scale of any job. I once worked in a factory where we used an extremely long piece of steel about 12 feet wide that had to be able to transfer heat at an even rate over 100% of the surface. If it was damaged, the repair took a special skill to guarantee the integrity of the repair and once again create a perfect surface.

Our company would fly some guy in from Germany to complete the repair. He was paid extremely well because he was one of only a few expert technicians in the world who were capable of completing the task. If our company discovered that this was a skill thousands of people could perform they could have paid someone $5 an hour instead of the tremendous amount he demanded.

If a minimum wage worker decides to get married and have children then he must take responsibility for his decision. If he can’t provide for his family, then he made a poor decision and should be accountable for it.

Maybe he should get a second job, like I did for several years when my kids were young. He has no business asking his employer to pay more just because he has a family when the employer can find a person entering the job market to do the same job at the “marketable” rate.

I have worked for very low wages more than once in my life and those experiences assisted me in finding work that paid higher wages. My new skills led me to employers offering jobs requiring more talent, jobs that the marketplace demanded they pay me more because of the value I brought them ... value that was partly gained and earned at the low paying jobs of my past.

No one owes us anything other than what our Constitution provides. We have the right to pursue happiness. In other words, I must be accountable and responsible for my decisions. I can pursue any dream and work my butt off for it. No one owes me a living wage.

It is another example of the government getting larger and the citizen giving up more responsibility and freedom. If this law is passed the citizen will become smaller in Long Beach.

taylor@longbeachcomber.com
Taylor’s Blog: www.lettertotheeditorblog.com
Twitter: @TaylorPRamsey