No matter how many times I encounter people who oppose raising the minimum wage (or even having a minimum wage), I never hear any rational or logical explanation as to why they feel how they do.
I think my favorite piece of rhetoric these people use is: The minimum wage is a job killer!
When someone is being paid minimum wage, that’s literally their employer telling them, “I would pay you less, but I’m not legally allowed to.” Not only that, but how exactly would getting rid of the minimum wage create jobs? Wait, correction. How would getting rid of the minimum wage create good jobs? Sure, we could start paying people half of what the minimum wage currently is and create double the jobs – but what the hell good would those jobs be?
Not only that, but reality has proven that higher wages actually benefit companies.
Take for instance Punch Pizza, a local Minnesota business I wrote about last year that had raised its minimum wage to $10 (and raised wages across the board) with spectacular results.
Well, we’re now over a year later and they’re doing even better than before – despite critics saying they would have gone out of business by now.
In fact, within the next year their planned expansion will bring them to a total of 10 restaurants.
“We just weren’t getting the quality of applicant before,” said John Puckett, one of the owners of Punch Pizza. “Now we have a lot more applications that we don’t have jobs for. If you pay people more, I think you can demand more. When we did this, we got everybody together and said, we need to blow people away with our service.”
“Our retention is light years ahead of most restaurants,” he added.
I once worked for Sam’s Club which is owned by Walmart, a company that believes that the best way to increase revenue is to cut wages, hours, benefits and any expenses they think they can get away with. During my 3+ years working there, I saw periods of time where our club didn’t even have the employees to properly run the place. But no matter how many hours they cut, they demanded that production remain the same. Needless to say, our turnover rate was high and most people hated their job. Not only that, but we went through periods of time where we just couldn’t hire people even when we wanted to. There just weren’t people applying who were worthwhile candidates (passing background checks, screening process).
But it’s not just locally owned Punch Pizza that’s seen the benefit of raising wages; large retailer GAP also realized that if you invest in employees your company often sees better results. And Costco has been paying its employees decent wages for years, with fantastic results as well.
This isn’t rocket science. If you pay employees more and treat them better, they’re likely to work harder and be more loyal. When employees work harder, productivity goes up, which increases revenue. When employees are more loyal, that can save businesses a lot of money not having to constantly hire and train new employees.
Essentially what businesses like Punch Pizza are proving is that a business can not only survive raising employee wages, but they can expand their company and make a good profit in the process.
In other words, these companies are completely debunking the Republican lie that a higher minimum wage would kill jobs.
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