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Can we talk about pros/cons of raising the US Federal minimum wage?


Quill
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Can we doing it without political sniping? Do other developed countries have a federal minimum wage? Is it a generous or a frugal level?

I remember many eons ago when the minimum wage was $3.25 (or thereabouts) and there was a proposal to raise it to $5.00/hr and people made all sorts of dire predictions about why that was a horrible idea. AFAIK, those predictions did not materialize and now the min. wage has trucked long past $5.00/hr. It seems to me that raising the min wage doesn’t hurt anything and might help. 

I am open to any supportable discussion on this subject. 

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Other countries do have a minimum wage: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/minimum-wage-by-country

Top 10 (amounts in US$)

  1. Luxembourg ($13.78)
  2. Australia ($12.14)
  3. France ($11.66)
  4. New Zealand ($11.20)
  5. Germany ($10.87)
  6. Netherlands ($10.44)
  7. Belgium ($10.38)
  8. United Kingdom ($10.34)
  9. Ireland ($9.62)
  10. Canada ($9.52)
 
Edited by historically accurate
chose the wrong word
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It really should have kept pace and been going up all along.  It might take a "minute" to adjust but it has to happen and should happen sooner than later.

Thinking it's fine for owners to make gabillions off of workers who are making so little they can't make it without assistance has got to stop.

(I also think ubi is a good idea)

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4 minutes ago, historically accurate said:

Other countries do have a minimum wage: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/minimum-wage-by-country

Top 10 (amounts in US$)

  1. Luxembourg ($13.78)
  2. Australia ($12.14)
  3. France ($11.66)
  4. New Zealand ($11.20)
  5. Germany ($10.87)
  6. Netherlands ($10.44)
  7. Belgium ($10.38)
  8. United Kingdom ($10.34)
  9. Ireland ($9.62)
  10. Canada ($9.52)
 

Was about to post that wasn't accurate, but just noted that is in US dollars 

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California’s minimum wage has been higher than Federal minimum wage for years. My country of origin doesn’t have minimum wage but employers still prefer the cheaper foreign workers on work permits as well as the people who are willing to work under the table.

Nowadays I see fast food using more touchscreens and mobile apps for ordering due to the COVID situation. Retail and supermarkets seems to have reduced staff strength.
Also retail and supermarkets seems more deserted. When I went to Whole Foods yesterday, the staff was more than customers. I could easily take a walk in there and be more than 6 feet away from anyone. 

I think the COVID situation is going to have more effect than whatever raising the federal minimum wage now might have.

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I think it definitely needs to be raised. Whether that's to $15/hr or some other amount -- IDK. 

I'd also really like to see some sort of schedule/methodology for future automatic raises included in any legislation that's passed. I'm thinking something like the formula that's used to determine Social Security increases.

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In our current situation, many of those working at minimum wage receive government benefits because the minimum wage is insufficient for maintaining a living with the basic necessities. So, we the tax payers, are paying for that directly.

If we raise minimum wage, presumably the workers make more, receive fewer state and federal benefits, and we get to stop subsidizing businesses (many making large profits like Walmart, McDonalds, and so on).

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13 minutes ago, Terabith said:

If a business can only make a profit if workers are not paid enough to live on, then it isn't a profitable business.  

I agree with the sentiment but I wonder how true that is for certain low-margin work. Grocery stores springs to mind. My understanding is that margins are tight in the grocery business and you have to account for large losses. If the store is known for low prices (i.e., Aldi), how does that work? 

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I think it makes sense to keep indexing it if there is any point in a minimum wage at all.

That said, I don't think $15 is right for a bare minimum.  I think the minimum, if it is to be a federal figure, should be geared to what makes sense in a low COL state, or somehow indexed to the state COL.

I don't think it's good for people to have to have significant education, training, and experience in order for their very first paid job to make economic sense.

I would also be interested to know how they are going to make sure people on "salary" are averaging out at least "minimum wage."  Or does that not matter?  (I worked many years below minimum wage due to being "salaried.")

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3 minutes ago, SKL said:

don't think it's good for people to have to have significant education, training, and experience in order for their very first paid job to make economic sense.

Can you expand on this? I’m not confident I understand what you mean? 

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5 minutes ago, Quill said:

I agree with the sentiment but I wonder how true that is for certain low-margin work. Grocery stores springs to mind. My understanding is that margins are tight in the grocery business and you have to account for large losses. If the store is known for low prices (i.e., Aldi), how does that work? 

Kroger is closing a couple of supermarkets in California because they don’t want to pay hazard pay. Since they made 1.2 BILLION dollars over the previous 3rd QUARTER, I’m inclined to think it’s not so much that the margins are low, but that companies might just have other greed interests in mind...

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kroger-shuts-stores-avoid-hazard-pay-covid/

I realize hazard pay is different from minimum wage, but similar excuses reasons are likely to be voiced.

 

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7 minutes ago, Quill said:

I agree with the sentiment but I wonder how true that is for certain low-margin work. Grocery stores springs to mind. My understanding is that margins are tight in the grocery business and you have to account for large losses. If the store is known for low prices (i.e., Aldi), how does that work? 

When I visited Aldi at a low cost of living state this past summer, their starting wage was $13/hr.

I live in a city with a base minimum of $13.25/hr. Most fast food gigs start at $15/hr. Things seem to be just fine—plenty of small businesses, restaurants, etc.

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2 minutes ago, MEmama said:

Kroger is closing a couple of supermarkets in California because they don’t want to pay hazard pay. Since they made 1.2 BILLION dollars over the previous 3rd QUARTER, I’m inclined to think it’s not so much that the margins are low, but that companies might just have other greed interests in mind...

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kroger-shuts-stores-avoid-hazard-pay-covid/

I realize hazard pay is different from minimum wage, but similar excuses reasons are likely to be voiced.

 

I wonder how that affects franchises, though. Are store franchisees enjoying a tidy profit or does it just go to the top of the chain? So, say there’s Mr. Yacht Club, who works highup in Kroger corporation. He doesn’t have to pay people $10/hr or $15/hr or whatever to stock grocery shelves, and it’s not as though he’s going to reduce the franchise fees so the store managers can alleviate some financial pressure. I *think*? 

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4 minutes ago, MEmama said:

Kroger is closing a couple of supermarkets in California because they don’t want to pay hazard pay. Since they made 1.2 BILLION dollars over the previous 3rd QUARTER, I’m inclined to think it’s not so much that the margins are low, but that companies might just have other greed interests in mind...

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kroger-shuts-stores-avoid-hazard-pay-covid/

I realize hazard pay is different from minimum wage, but similar excuses reasons are likely to be voiced.

 

My take, as a semi-local, is inline with yours. Kroger is willing to sacrifice two stores in Long Beach (where hazard pay was mandated by the city government) to act as a warning to other localities not to follow suit.

Bill

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6 minutes ago, Quill said:

. If the store is known for low prices (i.e., Aldi), how does that work? 

I have seen Grocery Outlet stores with only the managers (franchise owners) working. I have also seen Daiso with only two staff working, one as cashier and the other as cashier and gatekeeper for how many customers are allowed in the store due to COVID restrictions. I am seeing an increase in vacated retail space since COVID started. 
 

Grocery Outlet does have expired food stuff. Dollar stores are doing pretty well. TJMaxx is pretty popular and crowded too.

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16 minutes ago, Quill said:

Can you expand on this? I’m not confident I understand what you mean? 

I mean that hiring an untrained person has many costs other than their starting wage.  People need these jobs so they can learn marketable skills and work habits, but such jobs will be scarce if they need to pay a minimum wage that is actually a middle class family living wage when multiplied by a 2,000 hour full time work year.

To make it work, most likely there will be various negotiations and exceptions with names like "internship" etc., which will essentially water down the so-called "minimum wage" rules.  I'd rather start with a number that makes actual sense for entry-level employees.  It's a "minimum" after all.

Edited by SKL
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I think we should raise it somewhat but that going to $15 is too much for just one jump.

Here in CA we have local minima that are much higher than the federal one, but were achieved gradually.  

We just passed hazardous pay increases on top of that in some counties, and there have already been some store closures attributed to the early adopter counties.  We have had a sizable handful of grocery stores close for a week or two due to *many* serious Covid cases among staff, so that they could be deep cleaned.  We also had grocery clerks required not to wear masks early on, for fear that it would scare away customers.  Thankfully we got past that, but I got absolutely flayed by some of my friends who work in medical fields for expressing compassion for them and wishing they could use masks.  Those poor clerks were basically sitting ducks for the virus early on—working inside, no masks allowed, such a range of customers trying to stock up and crowding the stores, and none of those plastic shield either.  

But we are past all that now.  Masks are required, hand sanitizer is ubiquitous, and plastic shields are in front of every cashier.  I think that hazardous duty pay was actually a lot more appropriate 8-9 months ago than it is now, and I am concerned that Amazon deliveries are cutting into grocery store margins to the point where employees are going to be eased out.  We are developing our very own food deserts again.  It’s a shame.  And I think that in the big stores we are going see more tilting toward clerk-less checkout being almost a requirement, and more jobs will be lost.

One thing I am really happy about is that the call for a large federal increase seems to have triggered a bunch of big companies to give their employees better pay.  That a nice ancillary benefit of this process.  I hope it sticks, and I hope that the federal minimum wage is raised in increments.

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3 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Probably the federal minimum wage should be increased.  Generally, I think it should be tied to inflation and happen automatically because I think the arguments every time it's brought up are a waste of time that could be spent arguing about more important matters.

 

Right now, it's $7.25.   That works out to a little less than $300 a week so right around $1200 a month.  If we take off around 20% for taxes like SSI, some state taxes and then some other expenses like health insurance...that leaves a person with about $950....give or take.  If we presume that a person should only spend 1/4 to 1/3 of their income on their rent/mortgage... we are look at really difficult numbers for a single person.  Even in very low cost of living areas, it's really difficult to find someplace to live, even studio sized, for $235 to $310 a month at this point.  And food costs what food costs....even the most frugal people are going to struggle to spend less than $50 to $75 a week on groceries.  And that's before you handle things like electric bills, car insurance, etc.  So I think it should probalby be increased, but I don't know really how much. 

I am leaning more towards something like $9 or $10 per hour.  I think $15...over double....is too much.  I think it's too drastic too fast.  I also think that it's good...in fact, important...that states get to set their own minimum wage above.  So higher cost of living states like Cali...they can and should set a higher min wage simply because it costs more to live there.  I just don't think we should be setting the minimum wage based on high cost of living states...or even an average.  I think the federal min wage should intentionally be at the lowest end of the spectrum specifically so that states can set whatever is appropriate for their state.  

I appreciate the nuances in your view. 

I do think it would be best if there were an automatic mechanism for raising it. I agree that the fights over it ever time raising is on the table are a waste of mental energy. 

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2 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I think we should raise it somewhat but that going to $15 is too much for just one jump.

Here in CA we have local minima that are much higher than the federal one, but were achieved gradually.  

We just passed hazardous pay increases on top of that in some counties, and there have already been some store closures attributed to the early adopter counties.  We have had a sizable handful of grocery stores close for a week or two due to *many* serious Covid cases among staff, so that they could be deep cleaned.  We also had grocery clerks required not to wear masks early on, for fear that it would scare away customers.  Thankfully we got past that, but I got absolutely flayed by some of my friends who work in medical fields for expressing compassion for them and wishing they could use masks.  Those poor clerks were basically sitting ducks for the virus early on—working inside, no masks allowed, such a range of customers trying to stock up and crowding the stores, and none of those plastic shield either.  

But we are past all that now.  Masks are required, hand sanitizer is ubiquitous, and plastic shields are in front of every cashier.  I think that hazardous duty pay was actually a lot more appropriate 8-9 months ago than it is now, and I am concerned that Amazon deliveries are cutting into grocery store margins to the point where employees are going to be eased out.  We are developing our very own food deserts again.  It’s a shame.  And I think that in the big stores we are going see more tilting toward clerk-less checkout being almost a requirement, and more jobs will be lost.

One thing I am really happy about is that the call for a large federal increase seems to have triggered a bunch of big companies to give their employees better pay.  That a nice ancillary benefit of this process.  I hope it sticks, and I hope that the federal minimum wage is raised in increments.

PS. Having said all that, I have a friend who is probably around 75 now whose minimum wage job in NYC was enough back in the day to support a wife and baby son and pay for college, which he was attending simultaneously.  We need to remember that the minimum wage was not originally intended for just stopgap introductory jobs.  It was designed to be a modest but functional household living wage.

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1 minute ago, Carol in Cal. said:

PS. Having said all that, I have a friend who is probably around 75 now whose minimum wage job in NYC was enough back in the day to support a wife and baby son and pay for college, which he was attending simultaneously.  We need to remember that the minimum wage was not originally intended for just stopgap introductory jobs.  It was designed to be a modest but functional household living wage.

I would like to know more about this/the history of min wage. Mainly, the argument I hear against raising min (every time) is some version of, “Those are entry-level jobs; they are not meant to sustain an adult or a family.” I think that is often incorrect. 

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40 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

In our current situation, many of those working at minimum wage receive government benefits because the minimum wage is insufficient for maintaining a living with the basic necessities. So, we the tax payers, are paying for that directly.

If we raise minimum wage, presumably the workers make more, receive fewer state and federal benefits, and we get to stop subsidizing businesses (many making large profits like Walmart, McDonalds, and so on).

But, raising the minimum wage increases the quantity supplied of workers and decreases the quantity demanded of workers, increasing unemployment.  So, some workers who were making minimum wage now make NO wage and need more government benefits.  Yes, workers who maintain a job and hours worked will make more, but some will lose their job and some will have hours cut back--resulting in them making much less.

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12 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Let’s just take the numbers from the 1970s, and put it on a tiered track to adjust for inflation. 🙂

I rather like this policy page: https://www.epi.org/publication/raising-the-federal-minimum-wage-to-15-by-2024-would-lift-pay-for-nearly-40-million-workers/

But that makes a basic assumption that the minimum wage in the 1970s was a "correct wage."  What is the basis for that assumption?

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1 minute ago, Quill said:

I would like to know more about this/the history of min wage. Mainly, the argument I hear against raising min (every time) is some version of, “Those are entry-level jobs; they are not meant to sustain an adult or a family.” I think that is often incorrect. 

What may or may not have been the intention decades ago does not rule what happens today IMO.

75 years ago, how much of a range was there for wages above minimum wage, for individuals with average educational attainments?

It is also worth noting that a basic living 75 years ago would be viewed as dire poverty today.

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Just now, Bootsie said:

But that makes a basic assumption that the minimum wage in the 1970s was a "correct wage."  What is the basis for that assumption?

Right, remember the 1970s were the years of protectionism, which led to the destruction of many markets and jobs as overseas sourcing increased.  1970s wages for relatively unskilled labor were not economically sustainable.

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2 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

But that makes a basic assumption that the minimum wage in the 1970s was a "correct wage."  What is the basis for that assumption?

It’s been a while since I read on this point, but I believe there was a market basket type approach analysis—this was an amount sufficient for a very modest but dignified lifestyle: an apartment, basic food, basic healthcare, etc.

Other things (like the drawing down of tax dollars/subsidies to universities which have been turned into tuition being jacked up) have been skewed over time, but the notion of a minimum wage was tied to a basic cost of living analysis.

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I know someone who is the director of a childcare center. There was a planned expansion of the business, but they have now decided against it. The $15/hour wage means they will have to significantly raise their prices for child care, and they know that many parents will not be able or willing to pay the increased rate.

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5 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

But, raising the minimum wage increases the quantity supplied of workers and decreases the quantity demanded of workers, increasing unemployment.  So, some workers who were making minimum wage now make NO wage and need more government benefits.  Yes, workers who maintain a job and hours worked will make more, but some will lose their job and some will have hours cut back--resulting in them making much less.

Does that happen, though? (I’m sincerely asking.) Do a lot of employers say, “That’s it! If I have to pay you $———/hr, I’m just laying you off instead!”? Don’t employers generally have employees in the first place because they need someone to do the job

We used to have employees. We never chose to let someone go rather than pay them more. 

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5 minutes ago, SKL said:

Right, remember the 1970s were the years of protectionism, which led to the destruction of many markets and jobs as overseas sourcing increased.  1970s wages for relatively unskilled labor were not economically sustainable.

Huh, I remember that as a time (meaning the 1980s when they argued 1970s wasn’t sustainable) in which corporate profits grew exponentially and their lobbyists began to push for a decreasing tax burden for them too...

Edited by prairiewindmomma
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I do think minimum wage should go up some, maybe $10/hr, but I think that there should also be mandatory wage increases as an employee stays with the company (and proves to be a good employee, not one who is always calling out sick or something), not this piddly $0.10/hr increase after working for a year. And maybe that could max out at $15/hr or so after a few years.

 

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I agree it should be raised. 
 

I think it might be best to make it automatically adjust with inflation. They already do this for federal employees. 
 

I’ve also heard a theory that it would be better to somehow always make it tied to a fraction of the highest salary in the company. But this creates outsourcing and benefits package questions that make that impossible. 
 

Larger businesses can absolutely afford to pay a living wage, even to receptionists and custodians. I don’t know that’s at all true for smaller businesses. 

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27 minutes ago, Quill said:

I wonder how that affects franchises, though. Are store franchisees enjoying a tidy profit or does it just go to the top of the chain? So, say there’s Mr. Yacht Club, who works highup in Kroger corporation. He doesn’t have to pay people $10/hr or $15/hr or whatever to stock grocery shelves, and it’s not as though he’s going to reduce the franchise fees so the store managers can alleviate some financial pressure. I *think*? 

My thought would be that head of the yacht club should take less profit in order to pay his employees a living wage?

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8 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I don't think minimum wage should ever be enough to support a spouse and kid(s) and pay for college.  I also don't believe it's just about stopgap introductory jobs.  I believe that a minimum wage should be a wage which supplies a single person with no children enough of a wage at a standard work week, to be able to provide for all their basics plus a little bit of savings.  I think it should be the minimum income a person can be expected to live on.  Hence...."minimum" wage.  

 

I would be open to an idea of perhaps a second minimum wage for low level party time entry positions, the sorts of jobs that teens, parents looking to bring in additional income, seniors just wanting to do a job, etc....those sorts of positions should exist and if someone doesn't NEED the income to support themselves, it shouldn't be required for the employer to provide such a level of income for a job that really doesn't take all that much work.  

Well, how would you keep businesses from paying the lower rate on a loophole? Couldn’t they always just shrug and say, “Well, my receptionist position is not meant to be a living wage. We expect to fill that positions with SAHMs who just want a little extra pizza money.” 

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3 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

It’s been a while since I read on this point, but I believe there was a market basket type approach analysis—this was an amount sufficient for a very modest but dignified lifestyle: an apartment, basic food, basic healthcare, etc.

Other things (like the drawing down of tax dollars/subsidies to universities which have been turned into tuition being jacked up) have been skewed over time, but the notion of a minimum wage was tied to a basic cost of living analysis.

I don't know of any formula that minimum wage was tied to in the 1970's time period.  Where would the apartment have been New York? Boston? Dallas? San Antonio?--those would have led to very different numbers 

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Just now, Terabith said:

My thought would be that head of the yacht club should take less profit in order to pay his employees a living wage?

Right but isn’t that theoretically guy removed from the employees? He’s at corporate; so long as the franchises pay their franchise fees, he doesn’t care what the peasants earn. 

(Yes, I know this is a strawman...)

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15 minutes ago, Quill said:

I would like to know more about this/the history of min wage. Mainly, the argument I hear against raising min (every time) is some version of, “Those are entry-level jobs; they are not meant to sustain an adult or a family.” I think that is often incorrect. 

Well, this has been true for a long while—decades—but it was not true originally.

Having said that, originally income taxes were only supposed be imposed on the very high income, which was accomplished with huge deductions per capita and with a more steep gradation of rates vs. incomes than now.  That and higher social security payments cut into the minimum wage a great deal.

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6 minutes ago, Quill said:

Does that happen, though? (I’m sincerely asking.) Do a lot of employers say, “That’s it! If I have to pay you $———/hr, I’m just laying you off instead!”? Don’t employers generally have employees in the first place because they need someone to do the job

We used to have employees. We never chose to let someone go rather than pay them more. 

Yes, this might not be said to a worker's face, but it is what happens.  If we have to pay you $__ we can hire someone in India to do your job; if we have to pay you $_ we will get Ipads to take orders rather than paying you to do so...  This will occur more in some industries than other industries--industries where inputs are much more substitutable and work can be performed remotely or the good imported.

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12 minutes ago, Quill said:

Does that happen, though? (I’m sincerely asking.) Do a lot of employers say, “That’s it! If I have to pay you $———/hr, I’m just laying you off instead!”? Don’t employers generally have employees in the first place because they need someone to do the job

We used to have employees. We never chose to let someone go rather than pay them more. 

It happens around here.  It’s driven partly by the high commercial property rents.  It drives a lot of push toward automation and insanely human as machine type working requirement, for instance at Amazon warehouses.

It is particularly chilling of small businesses.  People won’t even start them because of this, and if they have them they are hesitant to bring on staff.  Also, it has driven a lot of ‘temp workers’ who technically have their own HR but in practice effectively do not.  I see that here a lot.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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10 minutes ago, Quill said:

Does that happen, though? (I’m sincerely asking.) Do a lot of employers say, “That’s it! If I have to pay you $———/hr, I’m just laying you off instead!”? Don’t employers generally have employees in the first place because they need someone to do the job

 

6 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I imagine that specifically....no.  But in a general sense, corporations are all about the bottom line.  

They can also play around with the bonus pay and/or healthcare benefits. Another way is to cut hours.

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30 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I think we should raise it somewhat but that going to $15 is too much for just one jump.

The current proposal is that it will be gradually raised to $15/hour over several years’ time. Not one huge jump. 

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7 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I imagine that specifically....no.  But in a general sense, corporations are all about the bottom line.  The people in the big corporate meetings aren't looking at..."if I have to pay you $x, I am just gonna lay you off."  Instead it's "our labor budget has increased by $x, we need to reduce it by $y.....what's the plan?"  And that's when the plan often includes layoffs and introduction of tech that is less expensive overall.  

Isn’t that happening anyway, though? Before the pandemic diverted our collective attention to other things, there was quite a lot of talk about preparing for AI to divest people of the work they are doing. I remember reading several articles on this subject. There was even a commercial for University of Phoenix to that effect where an apparently single mom gets her degree in IT just before her job is replaced with robotic factory arms. 

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The whole idea that we’re going to get rid of jobs because of automation is ridiculous to me when viewed in the scheme of history. Jobs get replaced with technology. That’s happened for all time. Freeing up that labor leads to innovation & entirely new sectors opening up. Less than half the people I went to college with are working in a field that existed 20 years ago. Innovation help jobs, even as it changes them. 

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9 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

The current proposal is that it will be gradually raised to $15/hour over several years’ time. Not one huge jump. 

Actually, isn’t the current proposal for less than that?  I thought I saw somewhere that it topped out a $12 once they realized that $15 was DOA.  

Having said that, I meant in one jump as ‘one bill that raises it this far’ even if it’s over time.  Because if this is impending and predictable, people start to plan for it, and not always in the ways that you hope.  I think that a lower cap achieved over time, with subsequent bills, would be less destabilizing.  

I know personally quite a few doctors that started to march quickly toward retirement due to the documentation requirements of the ACA.  They didn’t all retire immediately, but I know quite a few who retired earlier than they would have otherwise.

And I also know several accountants who retired earlier than planned after the last big change in the tax code.  They felt like it wasn’t worth it to invest as heavily as they would have needed to to adjust to this, and they bailed.  Several stepped down into bookkeeping but most of the ones I know just left the field.  Ditto estate lawyers.

Big changes in the law often drive changes in employment, not all of which are anticipated.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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2 minutes ago, Katy said:

The whole idea that we’re going to get rid of jobs because of automation is ridiculous to me when viewed in the scheme of history. Jobs get replaced with technology. That’s happened for all time. Freeing up that labor leads to innovation & entirely new sectors opening up. Less than half the people I went to college with are working in a field that existed 20 years ago. Innovation help jobs, even as it changes them. 

Total tangent, but a few days ago, at work, I received a phone call about updating Google location info for our firm. I’m 98% certain this was an AI communication, but I gotta say, it was hard to tell and I didn’t think so at first. It totally sounded like a real human being. The only giveaway was the amount of delay when I would answer and “the caller” would confirm. Like, I would say, “We are closed on the weekends,” and there would be a pause of several seconds and the “caller” would say, “I’m sorry, did you say you are closed Saturday and Sunday?” I’m like, duh, it’s a law firm, doofy, yes we’re closed on Saturday and Sunday. 

 

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39 minutes ago, Quill said:

I would like to know more about this/the history of min wage. Mainly, the argument I hear against raising min (every time) is some version of, “Those are entry-level jobs; they are not meant to sustain an adult or a family.” I think that is often incorrect. 

What do you think is incorrect?  That in the past the government set a minimum wage so that someone working on those jobs was able to sustain a family and it isn't being done now?  Or, do you mean that most of the people who are working at minimum wage jobs are trying to support a family on that minimum wage?  Or, something else?

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5 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

So, I have opinions about Amazon warehouses, having worked in one.

My experience.....with admittedly a single season in a single warehouse in the midwest, is that the public perception simply doesn't equal reality.  

 

The jobs that are being fulfilled there are.....idiodically simplistic and only require a body.  One of the biggest problems is that on a give night...only like 3/4...sometimes only 1/2...the bodies show up.  And many of those that do....they are high...they yell offensive things like "white power!" in the middle of a shift JUST to see if someone does something.  

 

IMO, automation at the Amazon warehouses isn't as much about minimum wage as it is about getting the job done with as little drama the higher up you go as possible.  I suspect that the job is better done by an intelligent human...but I didn't experience many intelligent humans as an employee there.  (in truth....working there, for $13 an hour plus OT....it was like culture shock.)

I’m really glad you posted this, because I don’t know anyone personally who works in one, and so I’ve based my opinion on the reports and exposes I have seen, which are sometimes sensationalized.  What I have heard alleged is that the specific physical requirements of the job have been ramped up to the point where repetitive stress injuries as well as ‘normal’ acute injuries are increasingly common.  

I do know someone who worked in a Costco warehouse for a while, and while it was not easy physical work, he could keep up with it in his 50s without horrendous stress.  My sense has been that Costco is a kinder, gentler employer than Amazon, but that could be wrong.

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1 hour ago, Terabith said:

If a business can only make a profit if workers are not paid enough to live on, then it isn't a profitable business.  

Or, is the problem that the people are charging prices that are too high for a person who is a low-skilled worker to pay?  I am not sure how you separate these out.  I am not sure why price controls in the labor market, rather than the goods market, would be the way to address this issue.  

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