Daily Kos reports that Ivar’s Fish Bar, a seafood restaurant chain in Seattle, will stop taking TIPs from customers and raise its employees’ minimum wage to $15 per hour. Of course, they will have to raise prices, which many critics of an increased minimum wage claim will kill small businesses. Not really. The price increase will be 4%, which is much less than most customers would leave as a tip. Rather than paint this as a situation where one or more parties lose, it’s a win-win for all concerned. Employee get a raise. Customers pay less. Finally, the business earns good will with its customers and employees. Ivar’s Fish Bar shows that American businesses can pay a living wage.
First Seattle – now the Big Apple. Huffington Post reports that the New York state legislature is debating a measure that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 and enable New York City to set its own minimum wage. According to the article, the income of a minimum wage worker would increase by $100 a week. Low wage workers would spend that money, which would help improve the economy.
Will some jobs be lost if the minimum wage is increased. Probably. But other jobs will be created because of that extra $100 a week in people’s pockets. An increased minimum wage will also spur employers to increase the pay of other hourly workers. President Obama put it best: “America needs a raise.”
Writing in the Nation, Josh Eidelson reports that workers at “dozens” of fast food restaurants have walked off the job. Some restaurants had to be closed because so many workers are on strike. Eidelson also discuss a report that alleges wage theft in the New York fast food industry. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Low wage workers need to stand up, and the rest of us need to support them.