By Jesy Amaro |Staff Writer|
Minimum wage movements pushing for increase in fair pay will help today’s working class make ends meet despite opposing viewpoints declaring the increase impossible or unfruitful.
Programs as well as campaigns like “Fight for Fair Pay” and “Fight for 15” respectively, strive to increase minimum wages for low-paid and fast foot industry workers receiving low wages for hard work and exploitative treatment.
The Fight for Fair Pay program proposed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo aims for a dramatic wage increase for all workers.
“Reasonable minimum wage is a necessity to improve the standard of living for workers, encourage fair and more efficient business practices, and ensure that the most vulnerable members of the workforce can contribute to the economy,” as written on the Fight for Fair Pay website.
Subsequently, the Fight for 15 campaign strives to “dramatically raise pay for hundreds of thousands of fast food workers across the state of New York,” according to fightfor15.org.
Since their inception, many different wage increase campaigns have occurred in many states, including California.
“I think that a gradual increase–if fifteen wants to be the goal, okay so make that the the end result–but don’t jump from ten to fifteen,” said Daniel Becerra.
Certain cities in the state of California are gradually taking action. In the beginning of May, San Francisco raised the minimum wage to $12.25; a first step to reach the $15 hourly wage.
The metropolitan city of Los Angeles has voted to raise the $15 hourly wage by 2020, according to an NBC News article.
In my opinion, Los Angeles is a prime location for the minimum wage increases within the fast food industry due to instances of exploitation and unequal pay.
“Sometimes I have to walk half an hour from work to get to my apartment because money’s not enough to pay a ride on the bus,” said Boyle Heights resident Juan Moran in a Los Angeles Times article regarding minimum wage increases.
A rise in living expenses will occur in Los Angeles for the next five years, if the city decides to embark in minimal steps like San Francisco is doing thus far.
Even if increases do occur, the $15 hourly wage is a bit out of reach. Small business owners as well as employees will have economic struggles.
Although it is beneficial for low-paid workers, at the same time it will hurt employers by forcing businesses to reexamine their labor force assets and costs.
“There is simply not enough room, enough margin, in these businesses to absorb a 50-plus percent increase in labor costs over a short period of time,” said Ruben Gonzalez, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s senior vice president for public policy and political affairs.
Is the $5 raise worth the chance of getting laid off from work or a rise in living expenses?
Let’s tune in five years later to see if people’s lives were improved by this $15 raise.