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Forum Post: If the minimum wage was aboished today, how much would your industry pay its workers?

Posted 2 years ago on April 28, 2012, 10:13 a.m. EST by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Has anyone done any studies or research on this conservative talking point?

16 Comments

16 Comments


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[-] 2 points by nobnot (529) from Kapaa, HI 2 years ago

You go to work at the end of the day you get a loaf of bread.On Sunday nite they give you your can of Spam.

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[-] 2 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

What are illegal immigrants paid? Illegal immigration was both allowed and encouraged as a way to gut minimum wage laws, imo.

[-] 1 points by TheMisfit (48) 2 years ago

The minimum wage guarantees that those in those low skilled jobs can never get earn more than the minimum. There is no incentive for employers to offer more as they have a nice, government mandated, reason to keep people under paid. If there was no minimum wage, McDonald's and BK would actually have to offer more to be able to compete with each other. With the minimum wage, neither has to offer anything more than the minimum to be competitive when it comes to attracting employees.
It doesn't really matter since there are so few, outside of students, who actually work for minimum wage. It is a wasted effort when it concerns few people and most non-students who start at the minimum move past it quite quickly. The BOL stats are easy enough to look up.

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

I see lots of people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, etc. that have to work in fast food. I remember working with a few older women when I had a fast food job many years ago.

That's the problem with statistics... Sure, 90% or 85% or whatever percentage of minimum wage workers may be under 25, but that still means that 1 in 10 are older than that. That's still a significant number of people that rely on that income for whatever reason.

Right now demand outpaces supply for fast food jobs. We have millions upon millions of unemployed people, and less low-skill jobs available than ever. Since our factories are now in China and even our tech support runs through India, fast food is one of the few industries that people can get into without a lot of secondary education. These jobs require a couple of weeks of training at most, and a great deal of the machinery at the average fast food location has been engineered to be idiot-proof.

You literally cannot screw up a McFlurry. The mix is shipped in bags, pre-mixed. Someone pours the mix into the McFlurry machine (also shipped in, no assembly required.) The employee hits the button to match the correct size, adds a scoop of topping with the matching spoon, and BAM, a finished McFlurry.

When there is more supply than demand, the prices go down. Since there is so much supply for low-skill jobs, why would a fast food employer increase wages for its workforce? Increased wages hurt the bottom line of the business for what is essentially a cog in a wheel. These people are replaceable, which makes them cheap.

If I was BK, and there was no minimum wage, I would lower employee wages until there were no applicants for my open positions (if I had any) and then slowly increase wages until I had people show up to work. I would not pay a cent higher. Why not? Because if the employee doesn't like my wage than I can just fire that person and find someone else who does!

What would that final be? $1? $2? 25 cents? Less? Remember that there are only a few job openings, and hundreds of people that want to fill each one.

BK and McD are competitors, and when it comes to costs these two companies would be racing to the bottom. The company that can cut costs the most can offer the cheapest processed food items, and will get the most sales.

[-] 1 points by Ludog5678 (28) 2 years ago

Companies would pay people very little. Workers would then start their own companies and make better working conditions and grow bigger as other companies cant replace workers who burn out

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

many projects like cleaning parks and education are for the generally welfare and therefor should be voluntary

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 2 years ago

If minimum wage were abolished today, absolutely nothing would change in my industry.

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

I think everyone's wages would be dragged down, including ours in IT. Once businesses start paying, say, textiles workers $.50 per hour or less, then all of the employers in more skilled professions would be justified in lowering wages as well.

There would be less of an incentive to keep paying higher wages, because the disincentive for leaving said jobs just increased. Basically, you would be more inclined to stay in your current position because the alternative would be terrible, therefore the boss gains more leverage over you.

Frankly if the minimum wage was somehow abolished in the US, I would start working for myself or move out. O Canada!

[-] 1 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

In any industry, you pay them as much as is necessary to attract and keep the people with the right skill sets and work habits, up to the point where paying them more will make keeping them around an unprofitable proposition. Pay them more, and you're going broke. Pay them less and your competitors will poach them (and you'll have to raise wages to get new people and keep it from happening again) or they'll take that skill set and work ethic and find greener pastures because they know they can get more elsewhere. That's why unskilled people don't command much money (too many of them, and the tasks they perform don't add enough value) and highly skilled people can command a lot (there's a shortage of them, and what they do makes a lot of money).

The minimum wage affects workers in only the most unskilled positions or situations where there's a glut of people who want some cake job (like working in a bookstore). Everywhere else, it's supply and demand. Employers are forced to pay more for the best people, and they'll pay what it takes to get them (but no more). That's why the McDonald's in a posh mountain resort will pay people $15 an hour. It's the only way they can get and keep people.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23964) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

When I started in the machine shop I was considered unskilled, I was fine with that as I did'nt have a background in machining just basic skills course knowledge from jr.High thru Hi school classes.

Never the less at one point in time I was assigned to work on a spacer ring project that the company was having a problem getting going. I was the new guy on the team that had been trying to get the production going for over 6 months. At the time I joined the team they had been able to get an average of 400 good spacers (with-in tolerances that is ) to 400 scrap spacers - this on two twelve hour shifts.

I worked with these guys and over a period of 4 weeks by adjusting tooling wash and placement we were getting over a thousand parts per hour and a couple hundred scrap parts per shift. In the following six months our quality through improving the process made us the benchmark of the world for spacer ring production. There was not a certified machinist on the team. At the time a cert. machinist averaged 25.00 an hour we were making half that and did not even get included in the bonuses.

Sorry business owners and executive management will screw you every opportunity that they have.

[-] 1 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

That's one of those situations where there's an artificial barrier imposed -- there are "certified machinists" and there's everybody else, and they can screw you based on that distinction, meaningless though it may be. A stupid thing to do, but they certainly do it. What happens, though? Did you sit around and put up with that shit? I certainly hope not. You sound like the sort of person that could take that skill elsewhere to someplace they were more appreciative of you and the money you were making them. And over time, that's what does happen. It may take a while, but businesses that screw over valuable people eventually pay a price for it in the form of a brain drain.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23964) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Why no I did not put up with that. Neither did I go somewhere else as it would be to start all over again in the same damn situation. I wrote up a letter that detailed promises made when I was 1st hired that as I was starting out in the list as unskilled that as soon as I proved myself then I would get commensurate recognition. I went on to list achievements and asked for that recognition.

I received my adjustment/consideration/acknowledgement and was on the next list to be laid off.

This shop like many non-union shops did not care about the employee they thought of them as you might a fuse - burn out a fuse pop in a fresh one.

[-] 1 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

That is what stupid employers do. I'm not sure how much a union would have helped in the first place, though. If it would have been a union shop, you'd have been working to contract, and because you weren't a certified machinist, you'd still have been stuck in the lower pay grade regardless of what innovations you introduced. Whatever other merits they may have, unions and union contracts don't reward individual initiative.

My point isn't that there are no stupid employers. There are lots of them, and they screw you whenever they get a chance. Lord knows I've worked for enough of them myself. But they can only do it to the extent they think there's a labor surplus and they think your replacement is right around the corner. If they understand your value, they pay to keep you around. Some, like the people you're describing, are too stupid to figure out when people are making them money, but when they're that stupid, they deserve to go broke. And, not everybody is like that. Some employers understand that recognizing and rewarding quality employees is in their own best interests.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23964) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Thing is - yes your right. A union shop would have been run differently I would have been the low man on the poll again but would have been in an apprenticeship program. With stages to graduate thru.

Yes they were an exceedingly stupid employer operating in 5 states and yes they were not nearly as profitable as they could have been in fact they had trouble staying in operation due to their practices - though the owner of the company ( and this was family ownership ), still managed to live pretty high off the hog. Several homes a couple of private jets. He and his kids were fairly happy with themselves at the time.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

I've never paid anyone close to minimum wage. I think those that went below what it "was" would be crucified in the public, and hopefully put out of business.

[-] 1 points by amanofnoimportance (82) from Orlando, FL 2 years ago

I think this is a good idea.

Citizens would assemble quickly and slay the most corrupt companies if the minimum wage were abolished. If not, then it will say something horrifying of how docile citizens have become to their abusers.

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