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Minimum Wage Increase

Proposed legislation would raise the U.S. federal wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour in three steps over 26 months. Organized labor and other supporters say the bill comes to the aid of the working poor. Business groups and other opponents said it could lead to higher prices for goods and services, force small companies to pink-slip existing workers or hire fewer new ones, and crimp profits.

If this legislation passes, how will your business be affected, and what are you going to do about it?

This change would not affect us in any way. I wish I could find drywall men for this rate! Skilled labor cost two to three times this amount. I do not think that there are too many people working in the construction industry working for minimum wage.

—Craig Scoggins Sr., O’Neal Drywall Inc., Atlanta, GA

As with any price increase, I’ll pass it on to the customer. This will not affect my payroll; lowest wage I have is $10/hr. I will gladly pay increased pricing to help Americans instead of the rest of the world.

—Glenn Burley, President, Drywall Connections, Inc., Littleton, CO

No effect. I would be ashamed to only pay someone minimum wage.

This would have a positive effect on my business so I am going to fully support increasing the minimum wage.

The proposed wage increase would have no effect on our business directly as we already have to pay more than the increased minimum to a new hire. However, the increase of the price of goods is an uncertainty, but if everyone has to pay a small increase, we cannot see that it would be detrimental either.

We will have to increase the wages of the other help the same amount or they say that they will quit and go to the other contractors that do give the increase. Our prices will increase.

I for one am totally in favor of it. $5.15 is a joke of a wage in this day and age.

—David Butler, Project Manager, Univisions Crimson Group, Boston, MA

It will not have any impact. Even if we could find people to work for us at the proposed minimum wage, they likely would have no skills. We would rather pay higher wages and attract qualified people. If this affects the cost of goods we use, we will absorb the minor increases and attempt to pass along the larger ones. Frankly, it is hard to believe that the minimum wage is actually a living wage, and it is an insult to think that we would ask people to try to live on this. I think the whole issue is a smoke screen. If we indexed wages to inflation, we would never notice it and could plan from one year to the next.

This won’t affect my company at all. This is still far below what we pay our lowest paid laborer.

I already pay above the new proposal. You get what you pay for.

—Jason S. Wein, Owner, Jason Wein Carpentry, Sinking Spring, PA

Business not affected; our minimum pay scale is higher.

We don’t pay anyone less than $12 per hour, so this change will not affect our operations directly. It might lead to slightly higher material costs, but those arel of coursel passed on to the customer. This legislation is long overdue.

—Jeff Sweet, Owner, Acoustical Ceiling Specialists, Austin, TX.

No impact at all. Like many drywall companies, we compensate our workers on a “piece rate” or a per-square-foot rate. If a worker can’t produce enough production to earn the proposed rate, they should look for another line of work.

A small business pays a higher wage when the employee is a good worker and earns it. I cannot pay higher wages on a set basis as many people only wait for payday and do not give the employer a good day’s work.

This is where politicians show their intelligence. In Pennsylvania, the local YMCA figures it will cost them an additional $250,000 per year, and has already planned to raise rates and refigured their hiring plans. Other companies are trying to stay under 10 employees because they won’t have deal with the raise until 2008. Politicians should take an economics class to see how things in the real world work. The workers who have been working for a while and finally hit the $7 mark are now going to be put back at the entry level wage. This will make these workers even more disgruntled being at the bottom of the scale. Economists have stated that due to this political vote-getting bill, prices on commodities will rise, more products will be made overseas, and there will be less hiring in the future for these entry-level jobs.

—James Karnes, President, Dura-Tite Systems, Erie, PA

This will not affect my business. I have no problem with the increases.

This won’t affect us. All of our employees are all above minimum wage … even at the higher number.

We have no problem with it. How can anyone live on $5.15 an hour anyway? In our line of work you can’t hire anyone for less than $10 an hour. Even at $7.25 an hour, it would still be very hard for someone to earn a living … peanuts!

I have always paid more than the current and the proposed new minimum wage. However, the government should keep its nose out of this. There are lots of businesses that cannot pay more. It is clearly an inflationary piece of legislation. Don’t we have enough inflation from the endless increases in the cost of fuels? It is tough enough to do business now.

It will not affect our business. All of our employees are paid in excess of $7.25 per hour.

This legislation will not affect my business directly, however, we will be affected indirectly through price increases. I do not like the idea that the government forces a wage increase on us. I feel that if the person is worth more then he or she will be paid more. After all, we are not a communist country.

I want to know how to find people worth hiring that are willing to work for minimum wage.

The rates we’re paying in the Northwest Florida area are way above the minimum wage. In addition, the majority of the wages paid in this area are “piece rate” so most likely it will not affect my business.

Our business will not be directly affected. The wages paid to employees are above the minimum wage. I support the minimum wage increase. The cost of living has increased so dramatically and wages have not followed. A person working full-time for minimum wage should at least be able to provide their own support.

—Alicia Carpenter, Office Manager/Controller, Custom Construction, Inc., Arlington, TN

Increasing minimum wages will affect our company through goods and services, but I believe that we need to provide a good living wage to workers and families so they may have a better life. Business groups often forget that the bottom line is not the most important thing. Increased wages for families will provide better education opportunities for their children and a better work force for us in the future.

The increase won’t affect the paychecks here as minimum wage wouldn’t cover our employee benefits package. A high percentage of our workload is in the retail/restaurant/fast food sector where minimum wage is most dominant, so I suspect that our volume will be affected, at least temporarily. It is due though, and I think the construction industry will weather this OK.

—Roger Olson, President, Sig Olson & Sons Plastering, Moorhead, MN

None of our employees make less than the new minimum wage, so it will have no effect on us. However, if it forces increases in material costs, we will do what everyone else does: Pass it on to the customer.

—Mark Cline Plaster Inc., Dallas, Texas

Our company should not be affected by the increase in any way. All of our employees are paid wages above $7.25. New employees that start as laborers make $8 and up.

We hire nobody at less than $8 per hour and will therefore be unaffected by this legislation. As with materials and fuel, costs rise and so do our prices to the customer. This is the environment where you want to be the preferred customer, not the cheapest.

It won’t, but it will give the illegals something to shoot for!

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