Getbig Main Boards > Politics and Political Issues Board

Dems eyeing $2 raise for minimum earners

(1/5) > >>

Dos Equis:
Well this didn't take long.   ::)

Dems eyeing $2 raise for minimum earners

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Imagine what it would be like to work without a pay raise for nearly 10 years.

That's been the plight of some workers who for almost the past decade have been earning the federal minimum wage. Their last pay increase -- to $5.15 an hour -- came in 1997.

There could be some relief in sight.

When the Democrat-controlled 110th Congress convenes in early January, a top priority is boosting the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. The increase is likely to be phased in, perhaps over 26 months. (Watch why some say a minimum wage hike is long overdue )

Alice Laguerre is among the millions of workers now earning less than $7.25 an hour.

She makes $6.55 an hour driving cars headed for the auction blocks in Orlando, Florida, and says a boost in the federal minimum wage would help her build a nest egg for emergencies.

"I would be able to save more," says Laguerre, a part-time worker. "I've always been thrifty with money. When I was young, I'd take a nickel and stretch it five ways."

That can be tough these days, acknowledges Laguerre, 53, after paying the monthly rent and utilities on her two-bedroom apartment and after recently buying a car -- a blue 1994 Buick Century.

Employers could feel squeeze
On the other side of the minimum wage debate is employer Wayne Reaves, president of Manna Enterprises Inc., in Anniston, Alabama, who says he may boost menu prices and cut workers' hours at his fast-food restaurants, which serve up hamburgers, fried chicken, gravy and biscuits and other fare, if the federal wage is lifted.

The average hourly rate for his workers is around $6.39. All of his workers are paid above the current $5.15 minimum, he says. The lowest hourly rate is around $5.50, while a recently hired biscuit maker fetched $8 an hour.

"The market is working. My position is let market forces drive wages. But it isn't going to happen because this is a political issue now," Reaves laments. "This will have a negative impact on the people it is supposed to help."

The federal minimum wage is like a national wage floor, though some people can be paid less under certain circumstances. States can set minimum wages above the federal level; more than two dozen states plus the District of Columbia do.

The last time the federal minimum wage went up was in 1997. That's the longest stretch without an increase since the minimum wage was established in 1938. Inflation has eroded the minimum wage's buying power to the lowest level in about 50 years.

Organized labor and other supporters of boosting the minimum wage contend it will help the working poor.

Business groups and other opponents counter that it could lead to higher prices for good and services or force companies, especially smaller ones, to pink-slip some entry-level, low-skilled workers or hire fewer such workers. Companies' profits also could be crimped. . . .

240 is Back:
I don't like this idea at all.  People at the $8 mark already are going to demand $10.  People making $20 will find a way to bitch about not making $25, to keep up with the % change.  The only people earning 5.15 at the moment are, well... In FL, with the shitty standard of living and low wages, McD starts at $7 an hour and our state minnie is still 5.15 I believe.

I absolutely cannot fathom any job where 5.15 an hour is still paid.  Can anyone list the job title and location of any that you know about?  The only effects, IMO, of raising it will be to jack up prices for those kids already making 7 (the supply/demand settle level) who suddenly demand 9, when the diner cannot afford it.

Dos Equis:
Nobody who wants to be competitive pays minimum wage.  Many states have also raised their minimum wage above $5.15.  The only category of workers, other than fast food workers, who may receive minimum wage are waiters and waitresses, but they make more off tips.  The market usually takes care of itself.

Hugo Chavez:
If everybody is indeed already paying well over min wage, then there will be no impact unless the companies use it as an excuse to hike their prices... I mean if they're already paying up toward what it's going to be raised to, well???  This is mostly symbolic.  In states that raised their min wage, like here in Colorado, there was 0 negative effect.  If there is an affect here, it's going to be by corporations being political against the move.

240 is Back:
IMO, the people making $7.15 an hour are going to be pissed.  They're going to demand a raise, as they worked up to 7.15 an hour and now they can get that anywhere.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version