Myth Busting

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But $15/hour will kill jobs!

Economists have studied the effects of wage increases for many years.

Evidence and experience have shown that the job losses predicted by business groups have never actually occurred.
On the contrary, employment in traditionally low-wage sectors (retail, hospitality) has actually increased after Seattle raised their minimum wage to $15/hour.

Raising the minimum wage would make small businesses close!

A $15 minimum wage can be phased in over longer time frames to give small business time to adapt – this approach has been successful in Seattle. However, most minimum wage employees work for big businesses so raising wages only hurts one group: major corporations and the people in charge of them.

If your business model depends on paying workers poverty wages, then your business model is broken.

But there’s still good news for employers – raising wages reduces employee turnover, which means lower orientation and training costs. In fact, the money saved on training more than makes up for the cost of higher wages.

Also known as the ‘Costco Effect’, this method is known to companies who discover that profits actually increase when they pay their employees more.

It’s big businesses that are paying low wages in Saskatchewan too.  In 2017, 51% of workers making less than $15/hour worked for businesses with 100+ employees.

Okay, but a higher minimum wage has a negative effect on economic growth!

$15/hour will actually help boost the economy by putting more spending money in the pockets of low-wage workers who then spend that money in their local economy. In fact, a dollar spent raising the income of a low-waged worker boosts the economy more than a $1 tax cut on the wealthy because the lower-wage person has a higher tendency to spend.

If we look to the rise of Ford, the employer recognized that their employees should make enough money to actually buy the cars – this helped boost the Ford company and the local economy.

Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) report concluded that having wages increased to $15 would boost household spending and create 15,000 new jobs, depending on how businesses respond to the policy.

Basically, a higher minimum wage means more consumers who are better able to purchase goods.

But then menu prices will go up and average Canadians won’t be able to afford to eat out!

The reality is that the actual cost to customers with an increase in minimum wage is remarkably small. What’s more, restaurants and other companies raise their prices incrementally all the time. Haven’t you noticed that prices keep going up, while wages remain the same?

You would tolerate a price hike of .17 cents in order to benefit a company, but not to raise wages for workers?

A jump to $15/hour is too high!

Opponents to the fair wage of $15/hour cite that this increase is ‘unprecedented’ – yet this is not the case.

As an example, Ontario raised its minimum wage by 65% over a short period of time in the 1970s. Right now, we see many U.S. cities making large increases to the minimum wage. And in all of these cases, opponents predicted mass job loss and bankruptcy – yet none of these predictions came true.
And the bottom line is, anything less than $15/hour is a poverty wage. No one should live in poverty – an effective increase to the Saskatchewan miniumum wage is long overdue.

The minimum wage should be unlivable, so people making it are motivated to do something better! Otherwise they’ll just be lazy.

The fact is, all work is valuable. Our society needs people performing vital jobs like farm work, housekeeping, food services, and retail services. Not everyone can be a manager. Why would you not want the people doing these necessary jobs to be able to afford the very things they need to live?
What is more, many businesses in the traditional low wage sectors (retail, hospitality) pay their workers a living wage, including Costco – and Costco’s fairer wage system has worked well for them!

But I barely make more than $15/hour and I’ve worked so hard to get there! (Also known as the hopeless Crab Bucket!)

In reality, studies of cities that have already moved to a livable minimum wage have shown conclusively that everyone making within 150% of the new minimum will see a corresponding increase. That’s why the Fight for 15 is about moving everyone up.

Moreover, a strong and fair minimum wage increases the chances of bargaining for more – we need everyone to raise the bar, and not continue to compete against each other in a race to the bottom!

If you raise the minimum wage, McDonalds and other big companies will just replace all the workers with robots.

At this point, the technology isn’t good enough because if it were, it would have already happened.

But what is more, the service sector is all about ensuring quality service. As recently as May, 2016, even the CEO of McDonald’s said this about the wage/robot theory, “I don’t see it being a risk to job elimination…Ultimately we’re in the service business. We will always have an important human element.”

In the end – if companies are going to replace workers with robots – they’re going to do it with or without the Fight for 15 – what matters right now is fighting to ensure workers don’t live in poverty.

Minimum wage workers are just teenagers – they shouldn’t be paid $15 an hour!

Firstly, it is unfair to suggest that young people do not deserve to be paid a living wage. Basing wages on age is discrimination.

Secondly, research across Canada has shown that many minimum wage earners are not teenagers; in fact, many are often the breadwinners of their families.

Based on CCPA’s The fight for $15 Minimum Wage in Saskatchewan, in 2017, 32% of Saskatchewan’s workers making less than $15/hour are 35 and over, and 76% are not teenagers.

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