Tuesday, June 24, 2014

$15/hour? Aint nobody got skills for that!

The recent increase of the minimum wage in Seattle to $15 has been a topic that has garnered celebration from workers in the city and jealousy from workers elsewhere in the United States. With the rise in minimum wage comes a rise in the price of living and this concept is clearly displayed by the ranging costs of living between states within the nation. For example, as a minimum wage worker in California I earned $8.00/hour and paid much more for gas and housing than I did while living in Missouri where my wages were $3.67 as a minimum wage tipped employee. By no means were both of these “living wages” as I had assistance to offset the costs from my family and would not have been able to afford a comfortable lifestyle otherwise. With the minimum wage rising to $15/hour in Seattle, this will obviously create a price increase in other goods and services sold within the city such as gas, food, housing, etc. This will not eliminate the gap between the rich and poor as Seattle Councilor Tom Rasmussen has stated, it will only further the cycle of poverty.

In addition to raising prices of living, the tremendous rise in minimum wage in Seattle will cause employers to be more selective with whom they choose to hire. As a member of the work force for five years, I have had my fair share of minimum wage jobs. All of the goods or services I have produced for my employers and consumers in these jobs are not even close to being worthy of $15/hour. I cannot help but think about what would occur if this $15 /hour minimum was pushed on The Home Depot, my current employer. In order to make this wage worthy of the goods and services they are gaining from their employees, The Home Depot would look for better qualified salespeople (rather than a college student desperate for a job), an employee able to Home Depot Credit Cards on customers (which I do not for many reasons), and an employee who is looking to invest a significant amount of time with the company (which I am not). Basically, if this new minimum wage as applied to Colorado Employers I would be out of a job. In all honesty, the work I do is definitely not worth $15.

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