Most people would probably agree that low-wage workers, like those working at retail stores and fast-food restaurants, aren’t being paid enough to make a living – at least to American standards.
From there, there’s not much agreement.
Should you even make a living wage while working at McDonald’s or Walmart, or should such a low-skill job be reserved for high school kids looking to earn a few dollars?
And what exactly amounts to a living wage? While $15 an hour may be appropriate for a fast-food worker in Seattle, is it necessary for one in Moscow or Pullman, where the cost of living is much less?
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New York is on the verge of imposing a statewide minimum wage of $15 for its fast-food workers, but only if they work for a chain with at least 30 locations.
While we support higher wages, we see numerous flaws and issues with the plan.
Why target just fast-food workers at chain restaurants? Those locations will be required to pay their workers much more than their smaller competitors, who are only bound by the state’s $8.75 minimum wage. Will those smaller, homegrown fast-food restaurants even be able to find workers who will take less pay?
And what about the state’s other workers, those working at Walmart, Target and other large retail chains?
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said fast-food workers are being targeted because their employers are raking in the profits while such a high proportion of their workers are on government welfare programs – which cost taxpayers money. We’re sure the same is true for workers at other large corporations that pay low wages.
Wages in our country need to be addressed, but specific industries shouldn’t be singled out.
Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho)