For decades, the issue of low-wages has dominated millions of businesses nationally. People are unable to contribute to the growth of the economy for the lack of disposable income. After many debates on the minimum wage laws, employees are fed-up and speaking out against the laws.
While the cost of living is steadily escalating, workers’ incomes are inert. The federal minimum wage rate is $7.25. Although some employers pay slightly above this level, it is not enough to match the standard living expenses. According to a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post/ABC, two- thirds of the population is in favor of a minimum wage increase.
In nearly 100 cities, employees of fast food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s have been protesting for over a year. Some of them have even staged a walk-off from their jobs in attempts to reach an agreement on better wages and hours. They make $9 an hour and would like an increase to $15.
Surprisingly, the retail industry pays employees less than fast food chains. Stores like Wal-Mart, Target and even Macy’s pay employees as low as $7 an hour. Some complain that their wages are considerably lower than grocery stores.
Employees have been fighting for higher pay commensurate with fair living standards for a while. In fact, DC Mayor Vincent Gray recently vetoed a living-wage bill calling it a “job-killer” in response to employees request for a wage increase to $12.50. He believes a significant wage adjustment as such would cause a decline in job creation and drive-away retailers. Mayor Gray, nonetheless, is seeking a higher minimum wage benchmark but not to the extent where it will eliminate jobs.
President Obama also agrees that it is time to raise the bar for minimum wages. He supports legislative to boost the federal level to $10.10 an hour in increments over a two-year time frame.
John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, however, has an opposing view. He believes that raising it will result in less hiring. Although the unemployment rate is declining, there is little improvement in job growth.
This year, about 2.5 million low-income employees can expect an increase in their wages. Residents of DC will see a raise toward the later part of the year.