Category Archives: minimum wage

Shocker, not: $15 minimum wage hike is hurting NYC restaurants & employees

Gee, who could have predicted this would happen?

From NY Post: Big Apple restaurants are feeling the heat from minimum wage hikes, cutting staff hours and even closing kitchens as they struggle to shoulder the extra payroll costs.

Gabriela’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar, a margarita and taco staple on the Upper West Side for the past 25 years, is closing at the end of September — and it has been a long, painful road downhill, according to its mom-and-pop owners.

Since the $15-an-hour minimum wage hit New York City in December, Liz and Nat Milner say, they’ve been forced to slash their full- and part-time staff to 45 people from 60. Quality has suffered, they admit, and customers have noticed: They’re not coming in like they used to, and when they do, they’re spending less.

“We started by having to let go of the ladies who hand-made our tortillas. It’s certainly better when you can make your tortillas fresh for every taco,” Nat Milner said. “It made sense at $8 an hour but not at $15.”

Gabriela’s was then forced to lay off “two overnight cleaners, a whole level of middle management, the general manager, the extra servers we’d keep on in case it got busy — and then we started cutting hours.”

“I’m not against people making more money,” Milner added. “These people have worked for me for 20 years. But taxes, groceries, everything is going up and people have a little less money to spend on guacamole and tequila.”

Gabriela’s isn’t alone. In a survey of 324 full-service restaurants, the New York City Hospitality Alliance found that 76.5 percent of respondents cut staff hours and 36.3 percent eliminated jobs, including whole layers of middle management, in response to mandated wage increases.

“It’s death by a thousand cuts,” says Andrew Rigie, executive director of the group. “The minimum wage increases put pressure on small businesses. They are well-intended but unsustainable. There’s only so many times you can increase the price of a burger and a bowl of pasta.”

Philippe Massoud, CEO and executive chef of the Manhattan-based Lebanese eateries Ilili and Ilili Box, says rising wages have forced him to cut hours for his 180 employees, yank labor-intensive dishes from the menu and cut back on staff education events like wine seminars.

That’s because new regulations require that employees who receive tips can no longer spend more than 20 percent of their time on work that doesn’t involve interacting with customers. “I can’t even train or educate my staff the way I want to anymore,” Massoud said.

The restaurateur agrees that it has been a “social injustice” that wages haven’t kept up with the cost of living. The students and actors who used to be a great source of labor have been priced out of the city, he says, even as Big Apple restaurants have gotten slammed by tough immigration rules.

Nevertheless, “it’s unfair to put that burden on the shoulders of business,” according to Massoud. He says the industry’s margins have slipped to between 8 and 12 percent from pre-wage-hike levels of 10 to 15 percent.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Hypocrite: Champagne-socialist millionaire Bernie Sanders donated less than 1% of his income to charity

Although Joe Biden is the leading Demonrat candidate in the 2020 presidential race, according to a Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald Poll released yesterday, a new poll shows that Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt) now leads the field in New Hampshire. There the self-described Democratic socialist has the support of 29% of likely Democratic primary voters.

Bernie Sanders’ supporters and Democrat voters in general should know, if they don’t already, Bernie is a “Do as I say, not as I do” hypocrite. Alas, I don’t hold out much hope because we have survey statistical data that his supporters are low information voters.

How is Bernie Sanders the socialist a hypocrite? Let me count the ways:

  1. Though an advocate of socialism — which Karl Marx defined as an political-economic system that would abolish private property ownership so as to redistribute and equalize wealth — who claims to speak for the 99% and rants against the super rich one-percenters, Bernie is himself a millionaire who owns three homes and drives a $140,000 Audi R8.
    1. Tellingly, Bernie bought his third home — a $600,000 lakefront summer home in North Hero, Vermont, with 4 bedrooms and 500 ft. of Lake Champlain beachfront — just 5 days after the 2016 Democratic National Convention in which he sold out his supporters by enthusiastically endorsing Hillary Clinton.
  2. Though a proponent of $15/hr minimum wage, Bernie pays his staff poverty wages.
  3. Though an environmentalist who preaches about global-warming climate-change, Bernie flew first-class to the May 2019 Demonrat primary debate in Miam, while his wife flew coach — which makes him a sexist as well as a hypocrite.

The latest Bernie hypocrisy is that not only is he a socialist millionaire (an oxymoron!), he is also miserly and stingy toward the poor and needy.

On Sept. 8, Charlie Kirk, the founder and president of the conservative non-profit Turning Point USA (TPUSA), the conservative non-profit organization that maintains a Professor Watchlist on college professors who discriminates against conservative students and advances left-wing propaganda in the classroom, tweeted that Bernie Sanders made more than a million dollars in 2016, but donated less than 1% of his considerable income to charity:

H/t Federalist Papers

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~Eowyn

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‘U.S. needs illegal aliens to do work that Americans won’t’ is a lie

We are told, again and again, that the U.S. needs illegal aliens to work in jobs that Americans refuse.

As an example, MSNBC’s correspondent Marian Atencio maintains that only Latinos can do chicken-processing jobs because it is “pretty grueling work,” which is why “poultry is an industry that has become — as many of these industries that rely on low skilled workers — dependent on Latin American immigration.”

That’s a lie.

Jeff Amy reports for the AP (via ABC News) that on August 7, 2019, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 243 Latino workers suspected of working without legal authorization at two Koch Foods’ chicken processing plants in Mississippi. The Koch Foods arrests were part of a massive ICE workplace sting of 680 Latino workers at seven Mississippi chicken processing plants.

Note: Koch Foods has no relation to Koch Industries or the famous Koch brothers. The founders of Koch Foods and Koch Industries, both named Fred Koch, are two entirely different people.

Five days after the ICE arrests, on August 12, some 150 locals (U.S. citizens) were at a job fair at the same Koch Foods plants in hopes of filling some of those now-empty positions. The company is also trying to hire workers with online ads.

The AP reports (via ABCNews):

By 10 a.m., a crowd of dozens was on hand, and steady stream of people came and went. Most were black and spoke with accents from the American South. A few appeared white or Hispanic.

Many of the applicants, including 25-year-old Eddie Nicholson Jr. of Louisville, were chicken plant veterans. They understand the arduous and sometimes dangerous work of slaughtering, butchering and packaging chicken, from hanging up live chickens, to pulling off skin, to cutting with super-sharp knives, to boxing up chicken, much of it done in near-freezing temperatures. That draining work, at relatively low wages, leads many people to quit, so chicken plants are always hiring..

Angela Stuesse, an anthropology professor at the University of North Carolina who spent years among labor organizers in Morton and nearby towns, said the desire for cheap, docile labor led poultry firms to begin recruiting Spanish-speakers in the late 1990s. At first, they were people who could legally work. But they were eventually replaced by Mexicans, Guatemalans and others who often lacked legal working papers. Later, came a wave from Argentina, Uruguay and Peru.

Mississippi’s unemployment is high, and the wages are low:

  • According to a recent Center for Immigration Studies report, The Employment Situation of Immigrants and Natives in the First Quarter of 2019, the 2000-2009 labor-force participation rate in Mississippi dropped by 9%, from 78% to 69%, which left 494,000 U.S.-born adults out of the workforce in 2019.
  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of the meat cutters in the state were being paid less than $12.23 per hour.

But Breitbart‘s Neil Munro points out that wages have spiked upwards for Americans when employers were forced to give up their illegal workers:

  • Enforcement actions aided African-American bakers in Chicago and Somali refugees in Iowa and throughout the Midwest after the 2006 enforcement at the Swift & Co. meatpacking company.
  • As a result of the improved economy under President Trump, chicken processing firms are under pressure to raise wages. As an example, Sanderson Farms, which employ about 15,000 workers in Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas, raised their hourly wages to $15/hour after June 2. (AP)

Munro also points out the negative consequences of the U.S. government’s immigration policy that floods the country with  cheap, foreign, white-collar college graduates and blue-collar labor:

  • Each year, about 4 million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university. This total includes roughly 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees in business or health care, engineering or science, software or statistics.
  • But each year, the federal government imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants, on top of the existing population of 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately 1 million H-1B workers and spouses — and 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.
  • The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about 8 million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.
  • This policy of inflating the labor supply with cheap, foreign, white- and blue-collar workers:
    • Boosts economic growth for investors because it transfers wages to investors and ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.
    • Shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, widens wealth gapsreduces high-tech investmentincreases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children’s schools and college educations.
    • Discourages Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.
    • Moves business investment and wealth from blue-states  heartland to red-states coastal citiesexplodes rents and housing costsshrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.

~Eowyn

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Oregon governor signs “progressive” paid family leave act; includes benefits for illegal aliens

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

More benefits for illegal aliens that Oregon tax-paying citizens will have to cough up. That’s what you get when you live in a sanctuary state.

Excerpts from Oregon Live:

“Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday signed what advocates are calling the nation’s most progressive paid family and medical leave measure, making the state the first in the country to offer 100% wage replacement for minimum-wage workers.

The law, which will pay out benefits beginning in 2023, gives 12 weeks paid time off to new parents, victims of domestic violence and those who become ill or need to care for a sick family member. It also includes people who may be in the country illegally and those working part time. Residents need to work 1,000 hours a year to qualify.

The law allows workers to take time off not only to care for blood relatives, but also for significant others, friends and other close associates that are the “equivalent of a family relationship.”

“This bill is written for 2019,” said then-House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson on the floor in June. “It better captures the structures of families and reflects the types of communities and neighbors we strive to be.”

Although those making minimum wage will see 100% wage replacement, benefits decrease as income rises.

The Oregon Employment Department will determine what percentage of payroll contributions should go to fund program, though statutorily it can’t be more than 1%. Workers will pay 60% of whatever rate is decided, with employers contributing the remaining 40%.

Small businesses with less than 25 employees will not have to pay into the program, although their workers will still receive benefits.”

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Hypocrite: Bernie Sanders, proponent of $15/hr minimum wage, pays his staff poverty wages

Joel B. Pollak reports for Breitbart, July 19, 2019, that although self-identified socialist and 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) said he supports a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, workers on his presidential campaign complain they are making “poverty wages” and demand that he pay them a $15/hour minimum wage.

In a letter to Sander’s campaign manager Faiz Shakir, the unionized workers complained that field organizers “cannot be expected to build the largest grassroots organizing program in American history while making poverty wages” of an average hourly pay of less than $13, leaving many “barely managing to survive financially”. That, in turn, “is severely impacting our team’s productivity and morale. Some field organizers have already left the campaign as a result.” The workers remind Sanders that “Given our campaign’s commitment to fighting for a living wage of at least $15.00 an hour, we believe it is only fair that the campaign would carry through this commitment to its own field team.”

This is not the only complaint. Last year, staffers on Sanders’s 2016 campaign finally came forward with allegations of “sexual violence and harassment.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday, July 18, the Democrat-majority House of Representatives voted 231-199 to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour over six years.

Democrats contend the bill would raise wages for millions of Americans, but the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that a $15 per hour minimum wage “would lift 1.3 million people out of poverty but also put an estimated 1.3 million Americans out of work.

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~Eowyn

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MYOB: Restaurant workers tell A-listers to shove it after call for higher wages

sarah jessica parker and reese witherspoon

Super-wealthy SJWs not wanted…


Stick to worrying about your agents fighting for your own MASSIVE salaries.
From NY Post: Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman and more than a dozen other A-listers were told to shove it by 500 restaurant workers in New York who signed an open letter to the actresses.
The missive is a response to a letter that the Hollywood elites sent to Gov. Cuomo asking him to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers.
“You’ve been misled that we earn less than minimum wage and that we’re somehow helpless victims of sexual harassment,” the restaurants’ workers said in their letter, which was organized by Maggie Raczynski, an Outback Steakhouse bartender in Clifton Park, NY. “Thank you for your concern. But we don’t need your help and we’re not asking to be saved,” they wrote.
Cuomo is considering raising the minimum wage for tipped workers, which is as much as $8.65 in the city for restaurant workers, to be equal to the regular minimum wage, which is rising to $15 by 2020.
“The cost of food is going to go up and the number of servers is going to go down,” Raczynski told The Post.
DCG

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List of companies giving pay raises & bonuses because of new tax law; Democrat governors file lawsuit to block

The AP’s Paul Wiseman reports that on December 26, 2017, President Trump signed the GOP’s tax bill into law. By slashing the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%, one of the highest among advanced economies, the new law distributes benefits across a range of American industries, from construction to health care. It also applies a low one-time tax to the profits that corporations have long kept overseas to avoid paying taxes under the current higher rate.
According to an analysis by the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Wharton Budget Model:

  • The biggest tax savings from 2018 through 2027 go to manufacturers ($261.5 billion).
  • Next are insurance and finance companies ($249.4 billion).
  • Retailers will save $171.4 billion. Matthew Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation, says the new law will help retailers accelerate investment in e-commerce and mobile technology, as well as induce foreign-owned retailers to shift investment dollars into the United States.

The new tax plan has already brought fruit in companies giving raises to their employees (see below), as well as plans to increase their U.S. investments. As WND puts it:

“Before the ink was even dry on President Trump’s signature on the Republican tax-cut bill, corporate America was not only toasting it, praising it and celebrating it, but handing out money to employees like Santa Claus.”

The Wall St. Journal reports:

“Just weeks after the federal government adopted the biggest tax overhaul in three decades, the effects are rippling through corner offices and boardrooms, with companies large and small dusting off once-shelved plans, re-evaluating existing projects and exploring new investment in factories and equipment.”

But the Demonrat governors of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York said they will file a lawsuit to block the tax overhaul. California, also a “blue” state, may join the lawsuit.

The AP reports that on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, governors Andrew Cuomo of New York, Dannel Malloy of Connecticut and Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced  that they’re talking to governors of other states to form a multi-state coalition in a lawsuit to block Trump’s tax reform because the new tax law caps a deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000 — and Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, California all exact high state taxes. This means that in the past, before the Trump-GOP tax reform, the federal government effectively had been subsidizing residents of those states by allowing them to write off their state taxes.
Cuomo, a potential 2020 White House contender, had announced his intention to fight the tax overhaul earlier this month. Murphy said he expects the suit to be filed within weeks. Malloy said no decision has been made on where the action will be filed.

Below is a list, in alphabetical order, of the companies — large and small — that have announced wage increases, bonuses, investments and charity donations because of the Trump-GOP new tax law. Many of them specifically credited the new tax law:
(1) AAON is giving $1,000 bonus checks to 2,000 employees. CEO Norman Asbiornson said it was a result of the new tax law and a “direct recognition” of his employees’ importance.

(2) AccuWeather distributed year-end bonuses to about 500 employees.
(3) Aflac is increasing its 401(k) match from 50% to 100% on the first 4% of compensation plus a one-time $500 contribution to every employee’s 401(k). It also plans $250 million increase in U.S. investment.
(4) American Airlines will give $1,000 bonuses to its nearly 128,000 employees except officers.
(5) Americacollect announced $300-$500 bonuses for 250 employees.
(6) American Savings Bank, the third-largest bank in Hawaii, said it will award $1,000 bonuses to nearly all of its employees, as well increase its starting wage from $12.21 to to $15.25 an hour.
(7) Aquesta Financial Holdings in Cornelius, N.C., will raise hourly pay to $15 and give $1,000 bonuses to all of it workers.
(8) Associated Bank in Wisconsin boosted its minimum hourly wage to $15 and paying workers a $500 bonus.

(9) AT&T will expand its bonus program to an additional 200,000 staffers getting $1,000 apiece.
(10) Bank of Hawaii, the state’s second-largest bank, will give $1,000 cash bonuses to 2,074 employees, or 95% of its workforce. The bonuses affect all employees below the senior vice president level. The bank also will increase its minimum wage from $12 to $15 an hour.
(11) Bank of the Ozarks announced bonuses of up to $1,200 for 2,300 workers.

(12) BB&T plans $1,200 bonuses for 27,000 employees, a boost in the base wage from $12 to $15 per hour, and charitable donations of $100 million.

(13) Boeing announced a gift of $300 million in investment in its employee-related charitable program “to support our heroes, our homes and our future.”
(14) Canary LLC will hire new employees and purchase more equipment.

(15) Central Pacific Bank said each of its 850 employees will get $1,000 bonuses, and its wage will rise from $12 to $15.25.
(16) Citizens Financial Group will give $1,000 bonuses to 12,500 employees, and $10 million donations to charities.
(17) Comcast NBC Universal, citing the new tax law and the FCC’s elimination of “net neutrality” of government regulation of the Internet, announced $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 non-executive employees, as well as plans to spend more than $50 billion in the next five years on infrastructure investments which will create thousands of new direct and indirect jobs.
(18) Comerica Bank is raising wages to $15 per hour and giving bonuses of $1,000 to 4,500 non-officer employees.
(19) Commerce Bank is giving $1,000 bonuses for fulltime workers, $250 for part-timers, to a total of 3,450; as well as $25 million donations to charities.
(20) Community Trust Bancorp has $1,000 bonuses for full time employees and $500 for those who are part-time.
(21) Copperleaf Assisted Living has bonuses of $200-$600 for 175 employees.

(22) Dayton T. Brown Inc. is delivering $400 bonuses for each of the 210 employees
(23) Delaware Supermarkets Inc. announced $150 extra bonuses to 1,000 non-management personnel.
(24) Express Employment Professionals announced bonuses of $2,000 to more than 200 non-executive employees.
(25) FedEx announced it will give wage increases and bonuses, make a voluntary $1.5 billion contribution to the company’s pension plan, and reinvest and modernize. Compensation will be increased by more than $200 million, with about two-thirds going to hourly workers. The rest of the money will fund increases in performance-based incentive plans for salaried personnel. The company will also invest $1.5 billion to expand its FedEx Express facility in Indianapolis over the next seven years. Later this year it will announce plans to modernize its Memphis hub.

(26) Fifth Third Bancorp increased its minimum wage to $15, and a a bonus of $1,000 to 13,000 employees.
(27) First Hawaiian Bank, the state’s largest bank, will give out $1,500 cash bonuses to 2,264 employees or all but 11 members of its senior management team, as well as increase its minimum wage from $12.75 to $15 an hour for 613 employees.
(28) First Horizon National Corp. announced 4,000 workers are getting $1,000 bonuses.
(29) Gate City Bank gave $1,000 bonuses to 538 non-management personnel, as well as $500,000 in additional charitable giving.
(30) Home Depot, with over 400,000 Americans on its payroll as of 2017, announced “a new one-time cash bonus for U.S. hourly associates of up to $1,000 in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017.” Craig Menear, the chairman, CEO and president of Home Depot, said in a statement: “We are pleased to be able to provide this additional reward to our associates for continuing to deliver outstanding customer service. This incremental investment in our associates was made possible by the new tax reform bill.”
(31) INB Bank is giving $500 bonuses to 200 employees, and raising base wages to $15.
(32) Kansas City Southern, the Missouri-based transportation holding company with railroad investments in the U.S., Mexico and Panama, said it would immediately give a one-time $1,000 bonus to non-executive employees of its subsidiaries in the U.S. and Mexico.
(33) Kroger CEO W. Rodney McMullen said the new tax law would influence his company “to continue to invest in our business, which will grow jobs.”
(34) Melaleuca Inc., the Idaho health-care and home-products company, is providing its 2,000 employees $100 bonuses for every year they worked for the company. The company has 147 employees who have worked for the company for 20 years or more.

(35) National Bank Holdings Corporation has $1,000 bonuses for employees making up to $50,000.
(36) Nationwide Insurance is giving 29,000 workers $1,000 bonuses.
(37) Navient announced a $1,000 bonus to most of its 6,700 workers.
(38) Nelnet announced $1,000 bonuses for 4,100 employees.

(39) OceanFirst Financial Corp. increased its base wage to $15 per hour.
(40) Ohnward Bancshares handed out $1,000 bonuses for all 260 employees.
(41) Pinnacle Bank had $1,000 bonuses for 1,007 employees.

(42) PNC Financial Services will give $1,000 bonus to about 47,500 workers.
(43) Royal Hawaiian Heritage Jewelry plans to open up three more shops – in Honolulu, in Kauai and Maui in addition to its existing three shops.
(44) Rush Enterprises of Texas is giving each of its 6,600 employees a $1,000 bonus – a total of $6.6 million. CFO Steven Keller said: “You’ve got a choice – we could’ve kept it and stuffed it in the company bank account or coffers, or we can share it with the people.”

(45) Sinclair Broadcast Group gave $1,000 bonuses to 9,000 employees.
(46) Southwest Airlines gave $1,000 bonuses to 55,000 employees, provided $5 million additional charitable donations.

(47) Starbucks, citing the GOP’s tax reform bill, Starbucks announced it will give pay raises and stock grants to its 150,000 employees, most of whom work as baristas or shop managers. Starbucks will also the tax break for some pro-family measures: All employees will soon be able to earn paid sick time off, and parental leave benefits will include all non-birth parents.

(48) TCF Financial Corporation gave $1,000 bonuses to all full time employees.
(49) The Flood Insurance Agency had $1,000 bonuses for 17 full time employees.
(50) Territorial Savings Bank had $1,000 bonuses to 247 employees.
(51) Turning Point Brands, Inc. had $1,000 bonuses for 107 employees.
(52) Unity Bank will give a $750 bonus to all 200 non-executive employees.

(53) U.S. Bancorp, the parent company of U.S. Bank, announced a $1,000 bonus for nearly 60,000 employees. The bank also plans to increase its minimum wage for all hourly employees to $15 per hour, make “enhancements” to its employees’ health-care options, make an “additional investment in strategic projects centered on the customer experience” and make a one-time $150 million contribution to the U.S. Bank Foundation, the bank’s charitable arm.
(54) U.S. Bank of America employees making up to $150,000 per year in total compensation – about 145,000 teammates – will receive a one-time bonus of $1,000.
(55) Walmart is increasing the minimum hourly wage for its U.S. employees to $11 and handing out bonuses of up to $1,000, crediting President Trump’s tax cut. Walmart is the nation’s largest private employer, with more than 1 million U.S. hourly employees.
(56) Washington Federal in Seattle will increase wages for most of its workers by 5% and adding 25 people to its information-technology staff.

(57) Wells Fargo raised the minimum wage to $15, beginning January 1, 2018.

~Eowyn
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Shocker, not: UW study finds Seattle’s minimum wage is costing jobs

shocked face
From Seattle Times: Seattle’s minimum-wage law is boosting wages for a range of low-paid workers, but the law is causing those workers as a group to lose hours, and it’s also costing jobs, according to the latest study on the measure passed by the City Council in 2014.
The report, by members of the University of Washington team studying the law’s impacts for the city of Seattle, is being published Monday by a nonprofit think tank, the National Bureau of Economic Research.
That law raises Seattle’s minimum wage gradually until it reaches $15 for all by 2021.
The UW team published its first report last July on the impact of the first jump in Seattle’s minimum wage, which went in April 2015 from $9.47 to $10 or $11 an hour, depending on business size, benefits and tips.
This latest study from the UW team looks at the effects of both the first and second jumps. The second jump, in January 2016, raised the minimum wage to $10.50 to $13. (The minimum wage has since gone up again, to the current $11 to $15. It goes up again in January to $11.50 to $15.)
The team concluded that the second jump had a far greater impact, boosting pay in low-wage jobs by about 3 percent since 2014 but also resulting in a 9 percent reduction in hours worked in such jobs. That resulted in a 6 percent drop in what employers collectively pay — and what workers earn — for those low-wage jobs.
For an average low-wage worker in Seattle, that translates into a loss of about $125 per month per job.
“If you’re a low-skilled worker with one of those jobs, $125 a month is a sizable amount of money,” said Mark Long, a UW public-policy professor and one of the authors of the report. “It can be the difference between being able to pay your rent and not being able to pay your rent.”
The report also estimated that there are about 5,000 fewer low-wage jobs in the city than there would have been without the law.
The researchers focused on “low wage” jobs — those paying under $19 an hour — and not just “minimum wage” jobs, to account for the spillover effect of employers raising the pay of those making more than minimum wage.
For instance, an employer who raised the pay of the lowest -aid workers to $13 from $11 may have then given those making $14 a boost to $14.50. (The team had also tested lower- and higher-wage thresholds for the study, and the results did not change, members said.)
To try to isolate the effects of the minimum-wage law from other factors, the UW team built a “synthetic” Seattle statistical model, aggregating areas outside King County but within the state that had previously shown numbers and trends similar to Seattle’s labor market.
The researchers then compared what happened in the real Seattle from June 2014 through September 2016 to what happened in the synthetic Seattle.
In addition to earnings, the report analyzes data on work hours— relatively rare in minimum-wage studies, the researchers said, since Washington is one of only four states that collects quarterly data on both hours and earnings.
Other studies on minimum wage have typically used lower-wage industries, such as the restaurant sector, or lower-paid groups such as teenagers, as proxies to get at employment, they said.
That was the case with a University of California, Berkeley study released last week that found Seattle’s minimum-wage law led to higher pay for restaurant workers without costing jobs in 2015 and 2016.
The UW team’s study actually corroborates the Berkeley conclusion, finding zero impact from the minimum-wage law on restaurant employment — when taking into account jobs at all wage levels within the restaurant industry.
But the UW researchers did conclude that, for low-wage restaurant workers, the law cost them work hours. (Specifically, though the actual number of hours worked by low-wage restaurant workers in Seattle increased a slight 0.1 percent from the second quarters of 2014 to 2016, the researchers’ “synthetic Seattle” model showed that if the minimum wage law hadn’t been in effect, there would have been an 11.1 percent increase in hours for those workers.)
Michael Reich, a UC Berkeley economics professor who was lead author on the Berkeley report, said he found the UW team’s report not credible for a number of reasons.
He said the UW researchers’ “synthetic” Seattle model draws only from areas in Washington that are nothing like Seattle, and the report excludes multisite businesses, which employ a large percentage of Seattle’s low-paid workforce. The latter fact was also problematic, he said, because that meant workers who left single-site businesses to work at multisite businesses were counted as job losses, not job gains in the UW study.
Reich also thought the $19 threshold was too low, and he said the UW researchers’ report “finds an unprecedented impact of wage increases on jobs, ten times more than in hundreds of minimum wage and non-minimum wage studies. … “There is no reason,” he said, that Seattle’s employers of low-paid workers “should be so much more sensitive to wage increases.”
Jacob Vigdor, a UW public policy professor and one of the authors of the UW report, stood by the team’s findings.
“When we perform the exact same analysis as the Berkeley team, we match their results, which is inconsistent with the notion that our methods create bias,” he said.
He acknowledged, and the report also says, that the study excludes multisite businesses, which include large corporations and restaurants and retail stores that own their branches directly. Single-site businesses, though — which are counted in the report — could include franchise locations that are owned separately from their corporate headquarters. Vigdor said multisite businesses were actually more likely to report staff cutbacks.
As to the substantial impact on jobs that the UW researchers found, Vigdor said: “We are concerned that it is flaws in prior studies … that have masked these responses. The fact that we find zero employment effects when using methods common in prior studies — just as those studies do — amplifies these concerns.”
He added that “Seattle’s substantial minimum-wage increase — a 37 percent rise over nine months on top of what was then the nation’s highest state minimum wage — may have induced a stronger response than the events studied in prior research.”
As to how the UW team’s findings jibe with the Seattle area’s very low unemployment rate, tight labor market, and anecdotes from hospitality employers desperately seeking low-wage workers, Vigdor said that, based on data and what he’s hearing from employers, businesses are looking to hire those with more experience.
“Traditionally, a high proportion of workers in the low-wage market are not experienced at all: teens with their first jobs, immigrants with their first jobs here,” he said. “Data is pointing to: Since we have to pay more, employers are looking for people with experience who can do the job from Day 1.”
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Illinois dems aim high with minimum wage proposals

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The future of Illinois…


Despite this proposal stalling, I guess this is one way the demorats can prove they aren’t out of touch with their supporters.
From MyFoxChicago (AP): Amid a national push by unions and worker advocates for a $15 minimum wage, Illinois Democrats hope to pass an ambitious hike during the spring legislative session, despite a warning from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner that he opposes an increase of any kind.
The proposal would lift the state’s minimum wage from its current $8.25 to $15 over the next five years, a more accelerated leap than previous adjustments in Illinois. It also would constitute a larger jump than increases toward $15 approved last year in New York and California, where the rates had been $9 and $10, respectively.
But, as with previous efforts in Illinois, the measure is likely to be tied up in the state’s electoral politics.
Sponsors of the legislation acknowledge Rauner’s opposition but have signaled they want to force him to act on the measure ahead of next year’s gubernatorial election, in which he already faces half a dozen Democratic challengers.
“We will get a really good opportunity to see where the governor stands,” said Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat sponsoring the wage bill in the House. “Does he side with the 2.3 million people in this state who need a raise now or does he side with the big corporations?”
In the past, Rauner has said he supported minor increases in the minimum wage. But he told the audience at a business forum on April 13 that requiring employers to raise pay is out of the question. “That’s not gonna happen,” Rauner said. “Companies will just leave.”
Democrats say they have considerable support for the $15-per-hour measure in the House, and expect a floor vote in May. The Senate is also considering two minimum wage bills, one similar to Guzzardi’s and a less ambitious one that would raise the wage to $11 by 2021.
In 2014, Democrats placed an advisory referendum on the Illinois ballot asking voters whether they supported a minimum wage increase in an effort to motivate their base to go to the polls. The referendum secured 67% of the vote in the same election that Rauner won his first term in office. During the campaign, Rauner was criticized by his rival, former Gov. Pat Quinn, for statements supporting a reduction of the minimum wage.
Illinois has raised its minimum wage above the federal floor, currently $7.25 per hour, twice in recent history – first in 2003 and again in 2006 to $8.25, where it’s remained since 2011. That leaves Illinois with a lower rate than 20 others nationwide, but above every state it borders.
Business leaders claim increasing the rate puts Illinois at a competitive disadvantage, driving companies across state lines or forcing them to reduce staff. Labor unions and other allies of the national “Fight for $15” campaign contend raising the minimum wage boosts the economy by putting more money into pockets of low-wage workers, decreasing reliance on government assistance.
Advocates say anything less than $15 falls far short of the cost of living for millions of Illinoisans. They point to research including a 2016 report from the University of Illinois that shows at least 34 percent of Illinois workers earn less than $15 an hour, many of them while helping to support a family.
The report projects an increase to $15 would result in just a 0.78 percent employment decline while yielding an extra $2.4 billion in tax revenue.
Robert Bruno, a professor of labor relations at the university who co-authored the report, said research on previous increases indicates companies are able to recoup additional labor costs by raising prices a few cents on the dollar and benefit from enhanced worker productivity and purchasing power.
Some business organizations, including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, oppose any increase above federal levels. Others, like the Illinois Restaurant Association, are willing to consider a more incremental adjustment – something some economics experts also recommend, warning against potential job loss resulting from more substantial leaps.
Sen. Kimberly Lightford of Maywood, the Democrat sponsoring both Senate proposals, has been advocating for a higher rate since 1999 when she first proposed what became Illinois’ 2003 increase. She said if the federal minimum had risen with inflation since its peak in 1968, it would be $11 today. “I cannot sit back and allow millions of working people to receive no wage increase at all because it could not be the $15,” she said.
The bills are HB198, SB1738 and SB2.
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Wendy's plans self-ordering kiosks at 1,000 locations

15-an-hour
Via Business Insider: Wendy’s says it plans to install self-ordering kiosks at about 1,000 locations by the end of the year.  A typical location would have three kiosks, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Higher-volume restaurants will be given priority for the kiosks.
Wendy’s chief information officer, David Trimm, said the kiosks are intended to appeal to younger customers and reduce labor costs. Kiosks also allow customers of the fast food giant to circumvent long lines during peak dining hours while increasing kitchen production.  Trim estimates the company will see a return on its investment in less than two years.
They are looking to improve their automation and their labor costs, and this is a good way to do it,” said Darren Tristano, vice president with Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm. “They are also trying to enhance the customer experience. Younger customers prefer to use a kiosk.
Kiosks are also valued by the Dublin, Ohio-based company for their ability to provide data about customers.  “This move puts them at the forefront of the kiosk and tech movement,” Tristano said.  Kiosks already have been installed at several central Ohio locations, where the company first tested the technology.
Customers will still be able to order at the counter for now, although Tristano predicts that mobile ordering and payment via smartphones will one day overtake self-ordering kiosks and cash registers.
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