Companies promise increased minimum wages
There has been a lot of talk lately about the government raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, nearly double its current rate. Major corporations, including Starbucks, aren’t waiting for the government to implement new policies that will raise workers’ wages; they are agreeing to higher wages now.
Starbucks has unveiled a new plan that will raise the wage for baristas and shift supervisors. Starbucks CEO Troy Alstead announced that the plan includes higher starting wages.
“The new rates will ensure we are paying a competitive wage that better positions us to attract and keep the best partners,” Alstead said.
Starbucks is not the only corporation agreeing to pay workers more; Wal-Mart is also set to raise the hourly rate for its workers.
“It is our intention over time that we will be in a situation where we don’t pay minimum wage at all,” said Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the average Wal-Mart worker is paid $11.83 an hour, and this may be a step in the right direction for workers.
Raising wages is important, because the prices for products are constantly inflating. It is getting harder for workers to afford everyday items, which is forcing more families to ask for some type of government assistance.
The Huffington Post reported that the federal minimum wage has not been raised since July 2009. The Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would gradually bump the federal minimum wage up to $10.10 per hour over three years and peg future increases to the consumer price index, is currently stalled in Congress.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Many states have implemented their own higher starting wages that apply state-wide.
“Raising the minimum wage is one simple and long-overdue step toward rebalancing the social contract so that the private and public sectors are more equal participants in improving living standards for American workers,” the Economic Policy Report said.
President Obama supports raising the minimum wage and has called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. Congress, however, can’t agree on a plan for raising it, and so the minimum wage has continued at $7.25 per hour.
A raise in wages is necessary. There are millions of workers that fall below the poverty line and are not able to provide for themselves. If our economy is to prosper again, it is important that people are able to make more money than is required to just pay bills.
Of course, there are two sides to every situation. Raising wages could lead to the loss of jobs.
If companies are required to pay workers more, it will limit the number of workers they are able to hire. This will force workers to take on more responsibility and harder labor.
Raising minimum wage to $15 an hour is a stretch and almost impossible. However, if there was a $1 or $2 increase to the minimum wage, it would help keep workers from falling under the poverty line and allow them to have a few extra spending dollars.
It is important that higher wages do not cause a decline of jobs in the workforce. Workers should be compensated properly, and raising minimum wage will be vital in the coming years if the cost of living continues to rise.
Opinion columnist Faith Alford is a journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].