If you think the title of this article looks like a text message, U R right. Actually, though, since in some ways I am a Luddite and don’t even have a smartphone, I don’t send text messages—and I tweet very little.
But today has for several months been designated as a day of advocacy for raising the minimum wage for fast food workers, and others, to $15 an hour. And I assume today, April 15, was chosen as the day for the marches and other appeals because they are for $15 (4 15).
But what about you? Are you (R U) for such a decisive increase in the minimum wage?
When I first heard about today’s plans, my first reaction was that trying to more than double the current national minimum wage, which is $7.25, was asking for far too much.
I have since seen that those who are calling for $15 are envisioning that as something that would be implemented over the next four or five years, not all at one time.
Here in Kansas City, there will be a rally this afternoon at 5:00 and a march at 5:30. Those activities are being planned by a group known as Stand Up KC. Similar activities will take place in some 190 cities across the nation.
A few days ago it was reported in the local news media that city officials in Kansas City are sympathetic to the activities of civil rights and religious leaders “to improve the plight of the working poor.”
But, as might be expected, there is opposition to raising the minimum wage or even allowing a city to do so.
Bills pending in the Missouri House and Senate would prohibit cities from requiring any employer to provide either minimum pay or benefits that exceed the requirements of federal or state law. (Missouri’s current minimum wage is $7.65.)
The Mo. Chamber of Commerce is supporting those Republican-sponsored bills that would keep cities from raising the minimum wage. The argument, of course, is such a raise in wages would increase prices and cause greater unemployment.
But if truth be told, the biggest concern is most likely that business owners would make less profit. This seems to be the real struggle: raise the minimum wage to help the working poor, or keep the minimum wage low to enhance profits for business owners.
The specter of fewer jobs being available for low-wage workers is a legitimate concern. But perhaps that fear is not well-founded.
Earlier this year, two professors in the Department of Economics and Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst published a well-researched 33-page paper titled “A $15 U.S. Minimum Wage: How the Fast-Food Industry Could Adjust Without Shedding Jobs.”
For those of us who are concerned about the plight of the poor, it is difficult to see what justification there is for not being on the side of those who need a living wage—and most of those seeking higher wages are not teenagers working for spending money.
According to an April 10 article in the Washington Post, “The typical burger-flipper is an independent adult or about 29, with a high school diploma. Nearly a third have some college experience, and many are single parents raising families.”
(That entire article, “Five myths about fast-food work,” is worth reading.)
This evening I am going to the rally of those seeking a significantly increased minimum wage and also the right to form a union. In spite of my initial misgivings about it, I am now 4 15. R U?