R = Round
Take Note: The Debate structure disallows me to directly rebut points made by Pro in this Round. This both means that I am having good, not bad, conduct in saving some attacks for Round 2 and that I am typing this to make it clear that any rebuking in this Round to Pro's R1 is purely coincidental and inherent to me making my constructive case for Trade Unions and against substantially increasing the Minimum Wage.
Take A Further Note: Read the comments (first few) on this Debate and the Debate's Description. This is not forcing me to be against Minimum Wage, but against a substantial increase of it in the US. I am entitled to take a left-wing-sided counter-proposal and Kritik'd angle on Min-wage increase being the optimal approach to helping the poor.
Contention #1: Minimum Wage's role in the left-wing's outlook, is a gap-filler in the process of making the nation merciful to those on the lowest(/lower) income bracket(s).
The crystal-clear thing to grasp here is that minimum amounts to pay employees are necessary in all societies at present in the world because there's insufficient ways for the poor to cope without it. The nations that lack it are indeed inhumane to the poor (don't need to prove this, Pro will vehemently agree) while the nations that have it are at least trying to make the system merciful to those on the bottom-end of it, economically-speaking.
The Minimum Wage functions to fill in a gap. Since the US is lacking in so many ways (especially under Trump) in being merciful to the poor, such as subpar ways to make the private healthcare affordable (and taking Obamacare's failure to become single taxpayer system in the opposite direction of what the optimal solution was) as well as terrible public transport and what-not (that I hope Pro will agree makes the system merciless on the poor), it means that the poor in the US are left crawling on their metaphorical knees, getting cut on the dry rocks in the blaring sun and the only mercy shown seems to be public education (that is so terrible in standard in the US) and minimum wage. Benefits and such are kept to a bare minimum and given unscrupulously in some States and/or cities, while being given overly leniently in others in a way that's making the whole system go bankrupt and people enraged at the benefits-scroungers which catapults it to the opposite direction.
The point is, everything about the minimum wage is inherently a scapegoat-solution that patches the failure of the system to have enough ways to make the current minimum wage in the US (which would be absolutely reasonable if healthcare, transport, education and ability to gain qualifications was sufficiently available to the poor, even time-wise so that even if they could join a Community College their unreasonable hours to make enough cash to cope with the system leaves them shattered and incapable of putting the time and effort into a side-qualification-course). So much about the US makes it completely corrupt towards its poor, albeit less so than truly capitalist sh**holes like Bangladesh or whatever brutal "Libertarian Utopia" (excuse me while I puke at the irony of such a notion) that you can imagine where the poor are literally at the level of non-human animals in their rights and opportunities.
Fix all the other aspects of the US' failure to provide for its non-well-off and you don't need to substantially increase the minimum wage.
Contention #2: The concept of Trade Unions is a lost treasure.
The reason that the government needs to step in and blackmail employers to give reasonable wages and treat their workers to a minimalistically decent level when the workers are too poor to afford a lawyer to sue the employer and get reparations for it is a lack of trade unions (yes, yes I know that there are overworked and/or incompetent public prosecutors for them to get for free, theoretically or the imaginary compensation they'll be paid back if they put in the cash for a high-end lawyer).
There is this notion that workers will 'gang together' and that instead of workers getting a better deal, overall, what happens is that desperate workers will refuse to join the Union and offer themselves to the employers as abuse-receiving workers in multiple ways that the Union members won't allow their members to get employed with (such as inhumane working week lengths among other things like, yes, less-than-decent wages for the work put in). Resultantly, the idea is that the unions end up forced to peer pressure all employees to join them or they will all, as a union, strike until the employers give into their demands (and not enough employees that are willing to work for terrible wages under horrific work safety conditions are there to 'fill in the gap' during such strikes).
This led the government to say 'no unions but we'll take over and make sure wages and work conditions are decent enough'. This then means that everyone who votes (not just the poor who have a backbone) that vote on one of two candidates, in a realistic sense, have only that capacity of 'say' in how good their wages and work conditions are, nothing more and no 'individual tweaks' to a local area's factory or whatever else you can imagine that a local trade union could do better for its poor than an entire Federal Government setting the minimum standards in this regard for the whole nation.
If we brought back Trade Unions and instead made a law that forced places to either hire only from the Unions or only from lone ranger poor-masochists, then we'd see a fairer system naturally evolve.
This is a secret counterplan than no nation, ever, has actually done. I invented this concept in my brain as I typed this and I challenge you to prove me wrong on this. There is no nation that ever tried to let things be right-wing to begin with and let there be a law mandating employment to either be all-Union or all-non-Union.
The reason that this is so powerful and indisputably the best version of Social Democracy fathomable, is that the employers will see for themselves that workers are too exhausted, underfed and underloved (no time with family etc) to perform well at work, if they opt-in for the all-non-Union option. Over time, the need for healthy workers who demand a bit more, will be the naturally selected option.
I will go into depth on this counterplan and the concept of natural selection in it benefitting everyone involved and how it will even snowball into helping Contention 1 be dealt with, within the nation, in my Round 2. I want to see how Pro takes it on or disregards it as irrelevant.