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Reason Foundation

LA sticks it to žsweatshopsÓ

Ted Balaker
November 10, 2004, 9:41am

We've learned to be wary of what comes out of the LA City Council, especially when something passes 13 to 0. That's what happened with a new law that's on the politically correct side of a couple of key buzzwords, "living wage" and "sweatshop." Concerned that uniforms for police officers and other city employees might be produced in sweatshops, the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday that eventually would require garment-makers who are city contractors to pay a living wage. ... "Here in Los Angeles, taxpayers should not subsidize sweatshops," said Councilman Eric Garcetti, an author of the measure. Sort of strange when a government body purposely chooses something that costs taxpayers more money and then justifies it in the name of the taxpayers. Seems like "unnecessarily expensive programs" should make the list of things taxpayers should not have to subsidize. More than a dozen union activists and other supporters of the law said Los Angeles would be the first major city to adopt the measure, which they hoped would serve as a model nationwide. So the law pleases the city council and the unions who fear competition, but what about the 30,000 garment workers in LA? Certainly, they want better jobs, but the fact that they hold these jobs shows that this was their best available option. This law could threaten their jobs. Is having no job better than having a low paying job? Here's the link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-sweat10nov10,1,1862584.story?coll=la-headlines-california

Ted Balaker is Producer


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