You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
September 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM
How low can you go?
I was struck by the presentation of the “no” position in the minimum-wage debate. [“Should fast-food chains pay a ‘living wage’?”, Opinion, Sept. 21.]
It makes sense that entry-level positions are just that: for people entering the job market, learning to be reliable and able to follow directions. But this sensible idea was then twisted to say that the wage for such positions was low in order to inspire these people to get out of such positions.
This is an argument for lowering the wage, thus making the incentive all the stronger. Companies with unpaid interns love this argument.
For a rational approach to this problem, it would help if those in favor of the “no” position would come up with a minimum-wage amount that they would be in favor of.
Were they in favor of the present $7.25 federal minimum wage when it was being installed years ago? Is there a fair wage for entry-level positions?
Dan Geels, Bothell
September 24, 2013 at 6:58 PM
Hemorrhage of greed
James Sherk claims paying fast-food workers a $15 hourly wage is akin to attaching leeches to their skin, in that it will hurt them economically. [“Should fast-food chains pay a ‘living wage’?”, Opinion, Sept. 21.]
Where is his grave concern for the leeching already at full throttle — massive corporate profits sucking the life blood of American workers?
What’s really needed is a tourniquet to halt the hemorrhage of greed.
Sherk’s prophecy of U.S. economic collapse like that of American Samoa and the end of Big Mac consumption if the cost of a burger and fries increases would be humorous, were it not such reckless disregard for workers forced to depend on such jobs to feed and house their families.
Gwen Lundberg, Seattle
September 24, 2013 at 7:26 AM
Share the wealth
The recently published “no” argument in minimum-wage debate is baffling. [“Should fast-food chains pay a ‘living wage’?”, Opinion, Sept. 21.]
The writer references medieval doctors bleeding people and wages of Mexican workers, considers a tiny island in the Pacific equivalent to the U.S. economy, and suggests that the economic role of minimum-wage jobs is entry-level employment for higher-paying jobs because all minimum-wage jobholders are inexperienced workers with little value to the American economy.
Not only that, but we also overlook that fast-food workers can be replaced with less expensive machines. Whew, this is a truly remarkable senior policy analysis of American-labor economics.
The true impact of paying a “living” minimum wage would be the ability of American (not Mexican or Samoan) citizens to earn enough money to pay for a place to live, buy food to eat and clothe children.
This would thereby reduce the burden of our punitive government to supplement poverty-level wages by handing out food-stamp programs, free lunches for schoolchildren, and hot meals for homebound senior citizens.
Your view of bleeding by leeches is another’s view of sharing the wealth earned by the hard work and labor suffered by minimum-wage workers.
Joy Findley, North Bend
Make independent choice
The debate over the minimum wage shows a stunning lack of understanding of elementary economics.
To wit, if you raise the price of labor, employers will use less of it, and output prices in those industries will rise.
If you feel strongly that wages are too low, stop shopping at Walmart, McDonald’s and other businesses that offer incredible values. Just simply direct your shopping dollars to higher-priced mom-and-pop stores and independent merchants.
You’ve had that choice for a while; why aren’t you exercising it?
Stu Haas, Seattle
September 22, 2013 at 8:02 AM
Event staff deserve more
I love the city of Seattle and value the many public events that provide enrichment for the city. I have joyfully attended many of these events.
It came as quite a shock to me when, instead of joining in the fun, I was participating in these events as an employee.
The large venues in Seattle contract work with event-staffing companies. The staffing companies demand a high price to supply people, then pay those people a pittance and disrespect them along the way.
This is important because every person who pays to attend large events has a say in where that money goes. Right now, it’s going to companies that take advantage of people who are desperate for employment.
These are the people who are willing to work a lot for small pay. But small pay is made even more insulting when the companies treat people like dirt.
As a ticket purchaser, you are making that event possible. Please take that power and put it to good use. Ask venues to demand better wages and treatment for the workers who ensure that the events are safe and everyone attending them is having a good time.
Natalie Boydstun, Seattle
Small businesses can’t afford it
I am a small-time retail-store owner.
I wish that I could afford an employee, but I can’t. Retail customers are a lot like grapes: They come in bunches. That is the time when an extra employee would be beneficial.
During slow times, employees — and all the costs associated with them — have to be paid for by the business owner(s), even though there is little income.
I don’t think that those who want a higher wage can fully appreciate the fine line there is in them even having a job at all.
Marty McNett, owner of Marty’s Paints, Burlington
September 18, 2013 at 6:28 AM
Time for a bigger change
I am convinced that the national health-care reform law is seriously flawed.
It is not that the law isn’t good in theory; it is just not workable in a currency-driven economy, such as the one we have now.
What we need to do is rethink our economy. A society with a currency-based economy will fail eventually. It’s a question of the “haves” and the “have-nots,” which creates an entitlement society, such as that which we have here in the United States today. Obamacare has been called a new entitlement, as health care should be for all of us.
What we need to do is change our society from a currency-driven society to a labor-driven society, where everyone who works, be it designing and building spaceships or just sweeping our streets and sidewalks, is entitled to all our society can offer.
I believe we must change our society now.
Peter Carrig, Tacoma
September 12, 2013 at 7:06 PM
Cut out unionsThose in charge of the tunnel project should simply hire nonunion workers to deal with the removal of the excavated material from the boring project. [“Bertha stuck, needs help to get out of this muck,” NW Wednesday, Sept. 11.]
Since neither union group is willing to make a compromise, the simple solution would be to cut them both out of the work. To allow this project to sit idle at the taxpayers’ expense is another example of poor leadership on the part of the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Is it any wonder why people are tired of union tactics?
It is time to deal with the “muck,” and eliminate both unions from any of the jobs on this project.
Ron Hopper, Carnation
September 12, 2013 at 7:27 AM
Make their lives easier
It has been a long time since my days of making minimum wage. Like many people who start out at the bottom, I applied myself and used the skills I learned on the job and at school to advance myself into the middle class.
What I do remember about working minimum-wage jobs wasn’t so much the low wage — I knew that was going to be my income going into the job — but the way patrons treated me.
Many were kind, considerate and helpful. But many were rude, destructive and would have seen me fired for no reason if this meant they could save a dollar or potentially get something free.
Even if the minimum wage isn’t raised, I think it is in all our power to make the lives of minimum-wage workers better. We all know right from wrong. We all know how to behave in public, and that a fast-food restaurant is just as much of a business as an attorney’s office.
Small acts of courtesy will get you farther and make the life of a minimum-wage worker that much better, even if the check is still small.
Anna Hiatt, Brier
September 11, 2013 at 7:02 PM
A picket line that needs to be crossed
I do not understand the longshoremen’s union’s position on the removal of dirt from the tunnel project. [“Tunnel work grinds to a halt over union dispute,” page one, Sept. 7.]
They apparently agreed to arbitration but dislike the July ruling. They were offered a reasonable split of the jobs in question a month ago by the project team, but said no.
Meanwhile, the work has been stopped for at least two weeks, presumably at great taxpayer cost. This kind of intransigence is one of the reasons the public view of unions is often low and leads to successful union-busting.
Has the International Longshore and Warehouse Union not noticed the flow of manufacturing jobs to states where unions are weak or nonexistent? Has it no regard for the greater public good?
I am a firm believer in the need for worker protections provided by unions, but this turf defense at any cost is becoming ridiculous. This is a picket line that needs to be crossed.
Leonard de Vries, Seattle
September 10, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Waste of time and money
Do you really think the taxpaying public really cares who moves the dirt? [“Tunnel work grinds to a halt over union dispute,” page one, Sept. 7.]
Holding up a project of this magnitude and cost for eight jobs is absolutely ludicrous. In the meantime, there are 250 construction workers twiddling their thumbs, waiting for someone to get off the dime.
Come on, project manager — get Bertha moving! Go with those you hired to do the work, and let the other group pout and picket.
John Moe, Federal Way
September 5, 2013 at 6:28 AM
It’s up to you
Let me see if I have this straight, the fast-food workers want $15 per hour because they can’t live on minimum wage. [“Labor turns up heat over low wages,” page one, Sept. 2.]
I’m sorry, but I take issue with that idea. Both of my children worked fast-food jobs while growing up to pay for car insurance and have spending money. They knew it wasn’t a career and made plans accordingly. One joined the Navy, and one went to college, and yes, he got student loans to do just that.
As a single parent, I too worked a low-paying job, trying to make ends meet without child support or other assistance, but that didn’t stop me from pulling myself up by my bootstraps and working my way up to a good, decent-paying job.
Instead of going on strike and asking for more money with no increase in responsibilities, figure out how to get training to make yourself more employable or investigate loans and return to school. There’s a lot of help available out there if you have the desire and are willing to investigate all avenues.
Believe me, I’ve walked in your shoes and understand the worry of how to feed your child, buy clothes and pay the baby-sitter; however, it’s up to you and no one else to make your life better.
Putting some smaller, mom-and-pop fast-food places out of business because it’s the easy way out just doesn’t cut it in my book.
Jill Eshenbaugh, University Place
Trending with readers