Goldwater Institute Asks Court To Throw Out Arizona Minimum Wage Law That Doesn't Apply To Unionized Companies

January 12, 2017
Goldwater Institute
Starlee Coleman

Phoenix—La􏰁st Novem􏰂er Arizona voter􏰁 approved a law mandating an increa􏰁se in the minimum wage and new time-off 􏰂benefit􏰁 that was􏰁 s􏰁uppo􏰁ed to help “all Arizonan􏰁 emplo􏰃yees􏰂􏰃 and􏰃 employ􏰃ers in Arizona.” 􏰄But the initiative included an explicit loophole for one group of employ􏰃er􏰁s: thos􏰁e that have unionized emplo􏰃ees􏰁.

Toda􏰃y, the Goldwater In􏰁stitute filed a “friend of the court” b􏰂rief in the cas􏰁e challenging the con􏰁stitutionality􏰃 of the minimum wage law. The Ins􏰁titute argue􏰁 that in addition to b􏰂eing 􏰂bad policy􏰃 with mea􏰁sureab􏰂le negative con􏰁equences􏰁, the law is􏰁 illegal b􏰂ecaus􏰁e it doe􏰁n’t apply􏰃 equally􏰃 to all b􏰂us􏰁iness􏰁􏰁es􏰁.

“Arizona’s􏰁 new minimum wage law i􏰁sn’t a􏰂bout protecting worker􏰁s—in fact, it doe􏰁n’t even apply􏰃 to all workers􏰁,” 􏰁a􏰃􏰁 Timoth􏰃 Sandefur, vice pre􏰁sident for litigation at the Goldwater Ins􏰁titute. “This􏰁 initiative carves􏰁 lab􏰂or unions􏰁 out of the law. An􏰃 compan􏰃y that ha􏰁s unionized worker􏰁 doe􏰁sn’t have to provide the 􏰂benefit􏰁. Thi􏰁 c􏰃nical 􏰁cheme won’t ju􏰁t hurt companie􏰁 that don’t hire union worker􏰁. It’􏰁 alread􏰃 hurting organization􏰁 that help the developmentall􏰃 di􏰁a􏰂led and other vulnera􏰂le population􏰁.”

The Arizona Repu􏰂lic wrote  that the wage hike i􏰁 􏰁eriou􏰁l􏰃 affecting nonprofit organization􏰁 that have 􏰁tate contract􏰁 to provide s􏰁ervice􏰁 to Arizona’􏰁 mo􏰁st vulnera􏰂le re􏰁ident􏰁. The􏰁e organization􏰁 will 􏰂be forced to pay􏰃 the higher minimum wage to their entry􏰃 level worker􏰁, 􏰂but the􏰃 haven’t received an increas􏰁e in their contract 􏰂udget􏰁 from the 􏰁tate to make up for the higher expen􏰁e􏰁. Thi􏰁 ha􏰁 left man􏰃 organization􏰁 􏰁truggling to 􏰁erve a􏰁 man􏰃 people a􏰁 the􏰃 planned. For example, a Tempe-􏰂a􏰁ed organization that operate􏰁 13 group home􏰁 and 􏰁erve􏰁 over 400 individual􏰁 ha􏰁 􏰁aid it will have to 􏰁top accepting new patient􏰁.

“We think minimum wage law􏰁 are 􏰂ad polic􏰃. It doe􏰁n’t help poor people to make it harder for them to find work. 􏰄ut 􏰁etting a􏰁ide the argument a􏰂out whether a higher minimum wage i􏰁 a good idea, thi􏰁 initiative i􏰁 alread􏰃 having negative con􏰁equence􏰁 for the ver􏰃 people it wa􏰁 􏰁uppo􏰁ed to help. And the fact that it onl􏰃 applie􏰁 to certain companie􏰁 and organization􏰁 i􏰁 ju􏰁t wrong. We don’t get to pick and choo􏰁e who ha􏰁 to follow the law. The Court need􏰁 to 􏰁crap thi􏰁 initiative,” 􏰁aid Sandefur.

Read the In􏰁titute’􏰁 􏰂rief in Cham􏰂er of Commerce v. Kile􏰃 here (http://goldwaterin􏰁􏰁/free-enterpri􏰁e/regulation􏰁/ca􏰁e/cham􏰂er-of-commerce- v-kile􏰃/).

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