COVID-19 triggered mass changes in the way we live, the way we do business, and even how we get and spend our incomes. Our personal programming changed last year. We adapted, survived, and many people made and saved a lot of money. But, a third of Americans continued to earn their pitiful $7.25 per hour.
Thank you, President Joe Biden, the Fed, and all the other good people of Washington DC. By providing benefits for everyone, your scheme to give minimum wage earners a choice of working their butts off for $7.25 per hour or sitting at home watching daytime TV succeeded! They sat at home.
While the above may sound like a failure. I’ll tell you where it succeeded. But first, let’s find out why the minimum wage, a poverty wage, remained at $7.25 per hour for so long.
The American minimum wage
On July 24, 2009, the US minimum wage rose from $6.55 (set twelve months earlier) to $7.25. Despite inflation and the price of everything increasing, minimum wage earners — and boy do they earn their pay — struggled to survive for eleven years.
The Fight for $15 started in 2012. Seattle started a four-year program to give small businesses a chance to plan for a pay raise. Other states where the cost of living was low could pay their workers less than $15. This approach might even encourage companies from big cities to open up stores and franchises and take advantage of lower-paid staff.
Fight for $15 continues all over the United States. Supported by a growing number of political supporters in Washington, DC.
The good news for businesses and workers
Even better news came in 2019 from UC Berkeley’s Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics study. They found that paying high school educated and lower workers $15 per hour in fact did not cause job losses in low wage states.
“The data show that the minimum wage has positive effects, especially in areas where the highest proportion of workers received minimum wage increases. We also found reduced household and child poverty in such counties.” Anna Godoey
In 2020, these cleaners, grocery and superstore workers, chefs, kitchen, and delivery staff turned up so we could stay safe at home. Safe from a killer virus and the covidiots who didn’t believe in such a thing. Secure, knowing we could place an order with Amazon for delivery the next day. And pick up our Mickey D’s or have a McDelivery brought to your front door via Uber or Door Dash.
In 2021, to meet tremendous demand from customers flush with savings, companies lacked the workers to satisfy their customers’ needs. Major fast-food outlets now tempt workers from smaller ones with higher pay. The Labour Department reports weekly slides to new lows of jobless claims.
On previous existing wages, companies could not attract labour. The appealing benefits package from the Government resulted in many people staying at home. So much so in some states like Arkansaw and Kansas, they want to take away the extra $300 per week to get people back to work. But Biden wants to improve wages.
McDonald’s may have automated parts of their operation, but they have increased some of their employees' pay by 10%. Plus, they plan to employ 10,000 more workers in various locations.
Strikes and unions
However, McDonald’s workers still fight for their $15. A strike just this week in Littlerock, California shows loyal workers know their worth. They will be heard.
I’m tired of McDonald’s putting profits above our safety and keeping workers like me down, and I’ll continue striking and speaking up until workers get a voice on the job. Imelda Rosales
Workers know this year they must fight for their rights. They must join unions and companies with vast profits must pay a fair minimum wage.
But the fear factor keeps people at home.
In March 2020, 8.4 million fewer Americans held jobs. A U.S. Census survey in late March found fear stopped 4.2 million people from returning to work. The jobs most of the unemployed workers would do if not for disability and a pension package? Take a wild guess.
The Wall Street Journal reports economists cited fear of contracting Covid-19, child-care burdens from school closures, and expanded unemployment benefits. Yet, this month, jobless claims dropped for the third week.
For those eligible for extended unemployment and a gig-worker program, the coronavirus benefits package passed in March 2021 extends benefits until early September. It also continued a $300-a-week supplement on top of regular state benefits.
A waiting game
So far, the Fed, President Biden and all Administration in Washington DC continue to provide support for those in need. While investors worry about their profits, everyday folks will continue to be tempted back to higher-paid jobs. Smaller businesses worry they can’t match the big hitters. Maybe they need to think smarter and raise their prices. After all, two-thirds of the population can afford to pay.
The bottom third could also afford to buy at higher prices if they continue to receive stimulus checks and McDonald’s meets their demands to pay $15 per hour to all its workers.
The most powerful actions minimum wage earners can take this year, striking and joining a union, will change the lives of the bottom third.
All those millions of workers staying at home until it's safe to return to the minimum wage customer-facing jobs it might be worth your while to do so when the stimulus checks stop.
McDonald’s can avoid loss of business by implementing the 12 years overdue $15 minimum wage at all its locations.
“To all you who believe we shouldn't have a minimum wage -- that the minimum amount you can be paid should be determined solely by your employer. We tried it once before: it was called SLAVERY.”
― Quentin R. Bufogle
After all, $15 has got to be worth getting off your couch for, right?
Thanks for doubling the money, President Biden and friends in Washington, DC.