Other opponents of a minimum wage argue that most minimum wage workers are young and just starting out in their first job and therefore don’t really need a lot of money. That may have been true years ago, but today nearly 33 percent of minimum wage workers in Minnesota are 25-54 years old, according to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. More women are minimum wage workers than men. Some 20 percent of minimum wage workers are married.
Minnesota House and Senate DFL leaders have been stuck on the issue of automatic increases in the wage. House leaders favor the increases while Senate leaders are opposed. And others are working through exceptions which is appropriate with such a diversified workforce.
Some compromise on these points would be appropriate. One could set an automatic increase for every three or four years to give employers a chance to plan. House leaders may want to consider that taking all control for merit pay out of the hands of employers of minimum wage workers may be more detrimental to employment, and flies in the face of the idea that if you work hard, you can earn your own gains.
Ultimately, raising the minimum wage to a reasonable level is not only the right thing to do, but good business that will make our state competitive in showing we value those who enter our workforce and are willing to work hard to get ahead.