LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Most workers have no insurance coverage and scrap by on the handouts of government programs to assist with their heat costs, food for the family, and childcare while they work. Many are the sole source of income for their family and a paycheck for two weeks’ barely covers the bare essentials.
Recently restaurant workers staged a plea for higher wages, citing nearly $15 per hour as their starting wage. That idea was met with extreme controversy. For one, the restaurant owner - especially one in a franchise - could not meet such a wage for multiple workers. Secondly, the consumer ( who inevitably pays the price of higher wages) can’t afford to eat at facilities where the workers are paid higher wages than the patrons take home.
Another point is that in this particular area, many college graduates barely make $15 an hour themselves, even though minimum wage is now $7.25.
Any working person with a family, a home, and a vehicle is already stretched to meet their monthly financial obligations and regular pay raises still fail to keep up with the rising costs of living. With a loaf of bread now costing over $2, fast food and more high-end restaurants have also taken a hit with the costs of food. Having to more than double the employee wage would result in a huge increase to consumers, who would then eat less frequently and inevitably affect the future of the business.
Every person who exerts their time and effort in a productive manner should be rewarded. But those rewards should be distributed appropriately and fairly to the people they most affect -- the consumers. A restaurant worker may be approved for a $15 an hour job, but with those rates, the number of working hours may be decreased and leave the employee in the same pay range as before.