Unions were over the moon about the Los Angeles City Council’s vote last week to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

AFL and CIO affiliated unions were some of the biggest advocates of the minimum wage hike.

But with the $15 minimum scheduled to kick in, in a series of increments between now and 2020, the unions want…an exemption from the minimum-wage law for themselves.

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.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”

Of course, the parties to a union contract are not exercising freedom; they’re exercising the option of negotiating within certain limits. That’s the thing about curtailing people’s economic freedom. Those who advocate doing it always want special privileges for themselves. Always. Whatever clamps are to be placed on the public, the advocates for the clamps want to be able to control which clamps they, personally, have to operate with.

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