Much of this applies everywhere, UK including, see how Londoners’ argue for a ‘living wage’ to cover the higher city expenses.
A little Christmas thought for the many invisible and forgotten workers who keep our cities ticking over.
Unions are mostly behind the recent wave of protests, some reminiscent of the civil rights era, where “Fight for 15” has become the rallying cry – a demand for a new federal minimum wage law that would force companies to pay workers at least $15 an hour.
This summer, McDonald’s posted online a budget that was supposed to help employees make better use of their income. It led to mockery on “The Colbert Report”:
“All you have to do is follow their sample monthly budget where they estimate $600 on rent, $100 on cable and phone, and zero dollars on heating. No problem – just accumulate a warming layer of fat on your body.”
According to financial planner Sara Stanich, Nancy Salgado is part of the working poor – stretching her income about as far as she can. Salgado walks to work, has no credit cards, and gets help with childcare.
And yet, Stanich cannot budget Salgado to save money every month.
But with Congress seemingly stuck in perpetual gridlock, some states are taking action.
California will soon have the highest state minimum wage in the country: $10 an hour. Eighteen other states also require minimum wages above the federal level, which is currently $7.25.
[$7.25 is less than £5/hr]
Washington D.C.’s City Council tried to go even further this year, targeting just one business – Walmart – and demanding the retailer pay a minimum of $12.50 an hour. Walmart responded by threatening to stop construction of three of its six planned locations in D.C.
But in September, the district’s mayor vetoed the proposal.
“Since that bill was vetoed, we’re proceeding with all of our stores in Washington, D.C.,” said David Tovar, Walmart’s vice president of communications. “We had our hiring center open for one of the stores. And 6,000 people showed up for those jobs.”
[It is worth noting that of all the corporations “Sunday Morning” reached out to, Walmart was the only one that would provide an interview.]
“We don’t want people to stay in entry-level jobs very long,” said Tovar. “We have clear data that shows that there is a tipping-point in terms of their productivity, if they stay in an entry-level job too long.”
[is that “use ’em then sack’em” thinking?]
Salgado is putting everything on the line: there’s a $15-an-hour price tag on her American dream.
“We’ll be able to spend a little bit more,” she said. “We’ll be able to shop a little bit more. We’ll be able to say, you know, ‘I live okay,’ you know? Like I said, I’m not looking for a rich life.”
“Well, you’re not going to be rich even on $15 an hour,” said Moriarty.
“Exactly,” said Salgado. “But what I’m looking for is to be able to be safe and living well.”
Yet governments in the West argue the best way of solving the current economic crisis is for people to spend [our way out of recession], so why isn’t this part of the equation?
It is always worth looking at the consequences (there are always some), a higher wage bill, and the associated payroll, benefits and employer’s taxes will put a strain on the company’s bottom line. These however, are tax deductible expenses so the tax man could be taking the greatest hit.
No doubt the companies will use this as an excuse to raise prices .. 😉