Sinclair Broadcasting Group: Fight for more training, not $15 minimum wage, business group says

By Stephen Loiaconi
Sinclair Broadcasting Group, March 3, 2017

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — As activists and workers push to raise the minimum wage in communities and states across the country, one business organization is advancing a different approach. The Job Creators Network presents its “Fight for 50” campaign as a more business-friendly alternative to the “Fight for 15” movement that promotes a $15 minimum wage ... Instead of raising minimum wage salaries, “Fight for 50” focuses on getting low-wage workers the training necessary to apply for jobs that pay $50,000 per year. ...

The Baltimore City Council advanced a bill this week that would raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. It could get a vote by the full council next week. Council members heard hours of testimony Wednesday from supporters and opponents of the measure.

One group supporting the Baltimore measure is Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, a network of business owners and executives who say higher wages lead to lower employee turnover, higher productivity and more customer satisfaction.

Holly Sklar, the organization’s CEO, said the experience of communities that have raised their minimum wages does not bear out predictions of job losses and shuttered storefronts.

“That argument is made about every increase at every level all the time,” she said.

Instead, she believes businesses will find that as wages rise incrementally, the benefits become clearer and the local economy gets stronger around them. “You certainly don’t save in the long run by paying people low wages,” Sklar said....

Sklar advocates training too, but she emphasized that it is not a substitute for paying a living wage.

“It’s not a plausible either/or solution,” she said.

Not all low-paying jobs are low-skilled jobs, she added ... Child care workers, home health aides, and education workers are in some cases among those making minimum wage or not much above it. According to Sklar, those people should be earning enough to stick with those jobs and become more experienced. 

“It’s not just a matter of training,” she said. “It’s about what is being done to make sure that you have some kind of standards at the wage floor.” ...

“It’s not about who’s earning $7.25 today,” she said. “It’s about who’s in between where it is and where it’s going.” ...

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