Failing State: $15 minimum wage drives clothing manufacturer out of Los Angeles

April 17, 2016
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the minimum wage! Yay, Jerry Brown!!”

In my posts on the minimum wage and the Left’s push to raise it ever higher, I’ve tried to point out one key truth: Labor is a cost of doing business that businesses have to account for. When costs go up, these firms have only a few choices:

  1. They can pass on the cost to the consumer, risking the loss of customers’ business.
  2. They can cut labor costs by reducing hiring, cutting back hours, laying off employees, and automating.
  3. They can decide the reduced profit isn’t worth it and close shop, costing all employees their jobs.
  4. They can move out of the jurisdiction, probably costing local employees their jobs.

The government of California recently decided to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, an increase of 50% from today’s state-mandated rate. At the bill’s signing, the Governor said the measure didn’t make “economic sense.” (1)

One employer, at least, agrees with him:

Los Angeles was once the epicenter of apparel manufacturing, attracting buyers from across the world to its clothing factories, sample rooms and design studios.

But over the years, cheap overseas labor lured many apparel makers to outsource to foreign competitors in far-flung places such as China and Vietnam.

Now, Los Angeles firms are facing another big hurdle — California’s minimum wage hitting $15 an hour by 2022 — which could spur more garment makers to exit the state.

Last week American Apparel, the biggest clothing maker in Los Angeles, said it might outsource the making of some garments to another manufacturer in the U.S., and wiped out about 500 local jobs. The company still employs about 4,000 workers in Southern California.

“The exodus has begun,” said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Cal State Channel Islands and a former director at Forever 21. “The garment industry is gradually shrinking and that trend will likely continue.”

When San Francisco raised the city’s minimum wage, a beloved bookstore closed shop because the cost of business had grown too high. Seattle has lost 700 restaurant jobs because the restaurant industry’s thin profit margins cannot support a $15 minimum wage.

And it’s not just current workers who are harmed: low-skill or unskilled youths looking for that first job are going to discover its harder to find one. Not only will fewer jobs be available out of the limited pool of funds set aside for hiring, but employers are going to want more for their money: employees who already have skills, who require less training. The unskilled 17 year old looking for his or her first job is going to be a lot less attractive.

Great work, legislature and governor, activists and union leaders.You’re driving businesses out of state, costing people jobs, and making it harder to find work. Well done.

They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. In this case, that road runs through Sacramento.

RELATED: Moe Lane notes that AA was bleeding cash from paying already-uneconomical wages.

Footnote:
(1) I leave it to the reader as an exercise to determine why a governor would sign a bill he says make no economic sense. Or, you can read the article.

 


Minimum Wage Mandates Help Workers…into the Unemployment Line

December 17, 2015

Progressive city councils (Hello, Seattle and Los Angeles!) and state governments (Hiya, California!) have a lot to answer for: pricing out of the job market the very people they claim to want to help — young people and the poor.

International Liberty

As you can see from this interview, I get rather frustrated by the minimum wage debate. I’m baffled that some people don’t realize that jobs won’t be created unless it’s profitable to create them.

You would think the negative effects of a higher minimum wage in Seattle would be all the evidence that’s needed, but I’ve noted before that many people decide this issue based on emotion rather than logic.

So even though we have lots of evidence already that wage mandates cause joblessness (especially for minorities), let’s add to our collection.

Here are some excerpts from a Wall Street Journal column by Professor David Neumark from the University of California Irvine.

Economists have written scores of papers on the topic dating back 100 years, and the vast majority of these studies point to job losses for the least-skilled. They are based on fundamental economic reasoning—that…

View original post 666 more words


Sporadic posting for the foreseeable future, but have some “Cornbread.”

November 23, 2015
And this is just the start.

And this is just the start.

I try to put up at least one post a day, even if it’s just a “Hey, look at this” post, but changes in the real world are going to make even that a difficult schedule to hold to. The changes are, in the main, good ones, but nonetheless they’ll eat into my time for reading the news and looking for the interesting bits.

Hopefully things will eventually stabilize and allow more time for posting, but, until then, do check out the sites listed in the sidebar to the right: they’re all good ones.

Though I do need to update that list…

In the meantime, let me leave you with some hot hard-bop jazz: the great Lee Morgan playing “Cornbread.”

And if I don’t post before Turkey Day, have a wonderful Thanksgiving one and all!


#RaiseTheWage – Applebee’s testing tablet ordering in California

November 22, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the wage!”

Action, meet reaction.

Last night I took my wife and our two young grandchildren to Applebee’s. It went great — our 4 and 2 year old charges were more decorous than half the patrons.

But I digress. Here’s what caught my attention: Applebee’s is testing a new ordering policy — using the technology that is rapidly becoming prominent in fast food restaurants. Every table had an online electronic tablet, with the menu, ordering and payment process built in. One can place the order and have the busboy bring your food.

For now, one can still use a waiter for service, but obviously the plan is to reduce or eliminate that service. That makes PARTICULARLY good sense in California, which is rapidly becoming the home of the $15 minimum wage. Moreover, California is one of only 7 states that requires “tip” employees to be paid a FULL minimum wage IN ADDITION TO all tips collected. That can make a meal too pricey — reducing the number of times patrons choose to dine out.

California’s minimum wage is currently $9 per hour and will rise to $10 in January. Here in Los Angeles, the minimum wage has been $15 dollars since June, and there is pressure to make that the statewide minimum.

The upshot? Expect to see more and more restaurants going to electronic ordering and payment systems, and more and more waiters and waitresses out of work, as progressive social justice warriors and the pols who appease them make it impossible to do business in the once-Golden State. Again, for those didn’t learn this in school, math wins:

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

San Francisco’s Borderlands bookstore chose to close its doors because it could no longer make enough money to make staying in business worthwhile. Applebee’s (and I’m sure other restaurants and fast-food establishments) are looking to cut back on labor hours in order to balance the increased cost of labor. In each case, employees have lost jobs as a consequence of government interference in the labor-management relationship. It’s only going to get worse, too as long as statists in government continue to act as if the laws of economics will bend to their will and that their actions have no consequences.

It must be nice in their fantasy world; it’s a shame others have to suffer because of those fantasies.


California loses another business, but at least we have a higher minimum wage

November 20, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the wage!”

It’s now widely regarded as legend and fable, but there once was a time when California created an almost unending wealth of jobs, leading to a good life and prosperity for her people.

Nowadays the progressives who run our state, enabled by their sheep-like voters who dominate the coast and the major urban areas, are doing all they can to run businesses (and jobs and prosperity) out of California, and California into the ground.

Just ask the owner of Woof & Poof:

One of the few things actually made in Chico may, sadly, no longer be made in Chico. Woof & Poof C.E.O. and owner Roger Hart said today, the company is having to cease production. Hart made the statement today at the annual warehouse sale.

Every year on the first Saturday of November a sale is held at the warehouse on Orange Street. Woof & Poof products include everything from stuffed collector dolls, blankets and door hangers to musical Santas for the holidays.

The unique, quality products are sold to more than 600 stores in the United States and Nordstrom’s. Woof & Poof has been in Chico for 40 years, but that’s about to end. Hart says a raise in minimum wage and workers compensation are just a couple of issues that have made it difficult to keep the business financially afloat here. Hart said, “The high cost of doing business in California coupled with ridiculous regulatory environment makes it virtually impossible to do business.” He says he has seen an 11% hike in payroll.

Time for another lesson in economics, kiddies:

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

Borderlands was a bookstore that closed in San Francisco after the owner could no longer afford the minimum wage. That was the owner’s choice, and now Roger Hart has decided to join him. I’ve no doubt there have been others, nor that there will be many more like him who choose the same.

Chico, for those who don’t know it, is a small city in the north part of the state, an area that, like the interior east and south, has been treated as an exploitable colony by our coastal progressive elites and the pols the force on us. The damage their policies of “economic, social, and environmental justice” have laid waste to farmland and small towns and cities up and down the state, far from the trendy restaurants of San Francisco or Hollywood, where I bet none of the 30 workers losing their jobs at Woof & Poof could afford to eat.

No wonder there are secession movements.

via @hipEchik on Facebook

PS: One of the burdensome regulations that caused Mr. Hart to throw up his hands? A state font mandate. You read that right. Because he had used the wrong size of font on pillow tags, an inspector threatened to seize his entire inventory. Instead, he had to spend a lot of money to make corrections.

I’m surprised he wasn’t required to cut down a tree with a herring, too.


Revenge of #KeystoneXL: labor union starts donating to Republicans

November 9, 2015
Feeling rejected.

Hates union jobs

Last Friday at the White House, President Obama finally did what he’s wanted to do for many years: kill the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would have safely carried Canadian crude to ports along the Gulf of Mexico.

In the process, he also killed prospects for tens of thousands of good-paying jobs on the pipeline itself and in supporting industries. Naturally, the relevant union is not happy. How unhappy are they?

They’re giving money to Republicans:

One of the nation’s largest unions accused President Obama of betraying workers and the labor movement by blocking the Keystone Pipeline and is backing up its rhetoric with campaign donations to Republicans.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America said that Obama’s bow to environmentalists meant that he was more concerned with “elitists” and “his legacy” than with helping workers provide for their families.

“President Obama today demonstrated that he cares more about kowtowing to green-collar elitists than he does about creating desperately needed, family-supporting, blue-collar jobs,”said Terry O’Sullivan, the union’s president, in a release following Obama’s Friday announcement.

(…)

LIUNA represents about 500,000 workers in the construction industry, one of the sectors hardest hit by the 2008 economic collapse. Keystone, which was expected to create 42,000 construction jobs, has been awaiting approval for about seven years. O’Sullivan said that Obama’s attempt to minimize job gains demonstrated his “utter disdain” for blue-collar workers.

Dear LIUNA members, and, indeed, private sector union members across the nation: the President and the Democrats have just sent you a message loud and clear — they prefer the money given by Green billionaires such as Tom Steyer and the Hollywood glitterati to your donations. They are willing to sacrifice your jobs to keep those people happy.

We on the Right do care, however. I’m not saying we’re likely to ever be best friends –we disagree over things like free trade and closed-shop collective bargaining, after all– but, here’s the thing: We want you to have jobs. Good ones.

We want the nation to prosper, and when you prosper, so does America. If the Canadians are still willing to do Keystone when a Republican comes to office in 2017, it will take us about 20 seconds to approve it — and other measures that get the government out of the way of job creation in the energy field and other industries.

When election day comes next November, pause for a moment and remember just who threw you under that oh-so-crowded bus.

And then vote your interests.

via Moe Lane


Los Angeles: union hypocrisy on parade #RaiseTheWage

May 27, 2015
x

Union economics adviser at work

You have to love the moxie of these racketeers: demand a economically nonsensical minimum wage, $15 per hour, and then, when the city is about to implement it, demand an exception for union members because business owners have threatened to do the logical thing: cut jobs.

From The Los Angeles Times:

Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces.

The push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

Let’s review a basic lesson in economics, shall we, from another progressive, heavily unionized city:

Like I’ve said many times before: the laws of economics cannot be repealed by legislative fiat. Raise the cost of labor, and businesses will be faced with a choice from among four options — pass the costs on to the consumer; reduce labor costs by cutting hours or whole jobs; eat the costs and accept lower profits; or cease doing business in that jurisdiction, either by moving or closing shop. Ritu Shah Burnham may have loved her business, or she may have hated it. But, regardless, she’s come to the conclusion it isn’t worth staying in business in Seattle. She isn’t the first, and other small businesses in other progressive cities have made the same choice.

Apparently Rusty Hicks understands economics better than the Los Angeles city council and realizes he stands to lose union (dues-paying) jobs when the minimum wage goes up. So, he wants the freedom to negotiate a lower wage, more in line with economic reality. Fine. He’s pursuing his members’ interests.

How odd that he doesn’t want to allow that same freedom to all workers and business owners.

Afterthought: There is actually a sneaky benefit to this for the unions, besides preserving jobs. If unions can negotiate lower wages, there would then be an incentive for non-union businesses to unionize. That would lead to more union jobs and more dues coming into the union’s coffers. Oh, Rusty. You sly dog, you.

via Michael Strain


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 18,211 other followers