WLNS: Minimum wage hike in 3 states boosts income for battered workers

WLNS, Lansing, MI, July 5, 2020
This article is adapted from CBS News.

Low-paid workers in the U.S. have particularly felt the economic sting from the coronavirus pandemic since they tend to work in “front-line” jobs, such as in restaurants and stores. But some employees are getting a financial lift as three states and 18 cities and counties around the country move to raise their minimum wages.

Illinois, Nevada and Oregon raised the baseline level of pay starting Wednesday, as did cities including...Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and several other California municipalities. The boost could help families that are struggling with the impact of the pandemic-related recession and boost local economies, according to Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. ...

“More money in the pockets of workers means more consumer spending at local businesses,” Sklar said in a statement.

Paying workers fair wages provides direct and indirect benefits, said Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, president and CEO of ECOS, which makes environmentally friendly cleaning products, and a member of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. Her company, which has a factory in Illinois, pays $17 an hour. Turnover is lower, which lowers costs for recruitment and training, she told CBS MoneyWatch.

“When you take care of your team, they take care of the company as well,” Vlahakis-Hanks said. On the economy front, it gives our consumers buying power. We need our consumers buying products during the pandemic.” ...

It’s been almost 11 years since the federal minimum wage was raised. That reflects “the longest period without a raise since the federal minimum wage was enacted in 1938,” Sklar said. ...

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