The “fifteen for $15” protests funded by the Service Employees union is not a fight for a living wage, and it’s more than a self-interested attempt to unionize some 4 million employees. It’s mob rule. As Thomas Sowell writes in Investor’s Business Daily:
While we talk about democracy and equal rights, we seem increasingly to let both private and government decisions be determined by mob rule. There is nothing democratic about mob rule. It means that some people's votes are to be overruled by other people's disruptions, harassments and threats.
The latest examples are the mobs in the streets in cities across the country, demanding employers pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour, or else that the government makes them do so by law.
Sowell notes that if striking employees’ labor is really worth what they claim it is, they are now free to work somewhere else. The fact that they cannot find jobs that pay them $15 an hour for their skills suggests that they do not have skills worth that much. As a high school dropout Sowell realized early on that he lacked the skills employers were willing to pay lots of money for. Rather than get angry and feel entitled, he returned to school and worked on getting some useful workplace skills. Today, things are much different, as Sowell continues:
In 1948, the year I left home, the unemployment rate among black 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds was 9.4%, slightly lower than that for white kids the same ages, which was 10.2%.
Over the decades since then, we have gotten used to unemployment rates among black teenagers being over 30%, 40% or in some years even 50%. Such is the price of political "compassion." …
Minimum wage rates that are higher than what most low-skilled and inexperienced workers are worth simply price those workers out of the job markets, leaving more work for union members. All the unions have to do is camouflage what is happening by using rhetoric about "a living wage" or "social justice" or whatever else will impress the gullible.
Life was tough when all I could get were low-paying jobs. But it would have been a lot tougher if I couldn't get any job at all. And a tough life made me go get some skills and knowledge.