Minimum Wage for Thee (but not for me)

Radley Balko points out a glaring example of hypocracy from ACORN, an activist group that has been pushing cities nationwide to adopt “living wage” ordinances that would mandate wages significantly higher than the national minimum:

ACORN is a blatantly hypocritical activist group. For years, ACORN has tried like hell to avoid paying its own members the minimum wage required by law! This, as those same employees were working to raise minimum wages for everyone else. In fact, ACORN actually went to court to fight for its right to pay wages below the legal minimum. What’s more, ACORN made the exact same arguments its opponents make when arguing aginst higher minimum wages — namely, that paying higher wages would mean the company would have to make do with fewer employees. In a suit ACORN filed to exempt itself from California’s minimum wage laws, the organization wrote in its brief:

“As acknowledged both by the trial court and California, the more that ACORN must pay each individual outreach worker–either because of minimum wage or overtime requirements–the fewer outreach workers it will be able to hire.”

Straight from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce talking points! ACORN also has a history of union-busting, ducking overtime requirements, cutting late paychecks, and general anti-labor practices. In 2003, the National Labor Relations Board made the following findings about the organization:

  • ACORN pays its field members $18,000 per year.
  • Field members typically work 54+ hours per week.
  • Field members are rarely given weekends off.
  • Field members are expected to canvas neighborhoods alone, sometimes at night.
  • ACORN is frequently tardy with member paychecks.

(hat tip: Bryan Caplan at EconLog)