Minimum wage has been debated about for a very long time now. As I was researching I fell upon an article that gave me hope that our nation and the companies we work for are becoming better and more aware of how they pay their workers. In this article it discusses how Amazon which is now one of the most valuable companies have took a stand in raising the minimum wage for their employees to $15.00 an hour. According to Al JAzeera “the increase pushes Amazon’s lowest wage above that at walmart Inc and Target Inc”( Al Jazeera 2018). This was one of the goals of the workers union as they described as “Fight For Fifteen”. This announcement has put pressure on many companies like Target and Walt Disney which led to them announcing they will be making this change as well sometime in the near future. As I continued researching I found a journal on how politics has a part in making sure minimum wage is enough for workers to support themselves and their families. I also fell upon anther journal talking about how if living wage was the minimum it would help individuals mentally and also physically. The last article I found talks about how congress and government officials have been pushing for a fair minimum wage for all citizens.
As we dive in to why I believe minimum wage needs to increase because of how the cost of living is increasing let’s first talk about how politics has played a huge picture on the meaning of minimum wage. Companies have failed in caring or aiding their workers causing the government to step in and to help workers As described Shaun described it in the article, “ The apparent renewed politicization of the minimum wage – driven by legislative action and activist campaigns from below is an inevitable consequence of the twin policies of labour market deregulation and workfare-centred social policies”(Wilson 2017). He believed that employers who are paying workers are the ones to blame for the concern of low minimum wages. Shaun wanted to prove his point so he starting looking into five major english speaking countries including USA and Canada and found that all of these countries had government impact on minimum wage. Focusing on USA he found that states have started to make changes on their own without waiting for the federal government at all. The US minimum wage enforced by the federal government is at $7.25 per hour and hasn’t gone up ever since, but this didn’t stop many states from increasing their areas minimum wage. For example states like California and New York have already legislated the $15 per hour minimum wage. As other slowly started making their own changes to the minimum wage Shaun realized that this wasn’t in employers power anymore. With unions and parties started the movement like the “Fight For 15” he has noticed that people have pressured their government to take charge of the state for the sake of not only helping workers and their families but to keep their individual political parties strong. After interviewing different countries around the world Shaun discovered that this approach of people using to pressure government and their respected officials in charge through movements and other means has led to what he says will quote “shape the battles and struggles over social policy reforms in the liberal model”(Wilson 2017). This battle over minimum wage will always be on going and will truly shape the US and the world’s democracy.
As I continued to find more evidence to justify my argument I found a research done by the professors Kelly L. Reburn, Fiona E. Moyer, Randy J. Knebel, and Mark C. Bowler of East Carolina University who argued that living wage should be the minimum wage and how mental and physical health can be impacted if not taken seriously. This could also affect the performance of work which at the end may cost the employer valuable money as stated in the article, “The inability to meet basic needs can contribute to a lower quality of life and poorer well-being that, in turn, can influence the performance of low-wage workers”(Reburn, Moyer, Knebel, Bowler 2018). With the use of the MIT Living Wage Tool by Dr. Amy Glasmeier and MIT and a number of public data researchers of East Carolina University describe their goal to be to “ Illustrate the importance in addressing the deficit and recognizing its impact on employee well-being” (Reburn, Moyer, Knebel, Bowler 2018).
After studying the minimum wage and median wage in comparison to the living wage in every state of the US researchers found states that median wage tend to be higher than the average living wage. Median wage worked with correspondence to minimum wage meaning that when minimum wage tend to increase so did the median wage. Also discovered was that as minimum and median wage increased and were closer to a bare minimum living wage the amount of physically and mentally unhealthy days started to decline. But in some states like Wyoming where living wage is an average of $10.63 but minimum wage is $5.15 there was an increase of physical and mentally unhealthy days. With data that shows such a gap between living and minimum wage researchers you can come to the conclusion that if workers were paid closer to their living wage then the performance of their work will increase along with their health.
Although the data collected was performed with subjects who are single adults which makeups about 45 percent of America it still gives us an understanding of how health can really be influenced by how much a person is paid. If you have a family of four with one person providing income for the families needs that would be very difficult if the person was working and only making minimum wage. Even if there a second person in that family who starts to work and makes minimum wage it still would not be enough for the family may affect the family physically and/or mentally.
The third article I found talks about how minimum wage laws helps to increase social equality and also increases the productivity and performance of workers. As Brishen Rogers describes it that minimum wage laws, “ensure decent work, work that enhances rather than undermines workers’ self-respect” (Rogers 2014). Workers feel a sense of importance knowing that they have rights to protect them and they feel much happier which will help their productivity at work. Employers also benefit from these laws because it also helps build a strong relationship between the worker and employer and not make the worker feel like they are just another average worker or as some say a number.
Roger further explains how laws that are focused on minimum wage would help workers legally and gives them a legal backing when they feel undercut. With a society with such laws Roger says, “Will both redistribute resources and ensure that citizens confront one another as equals” (Rogers 2014). In conclusion Roger concludes by saying that minimum wage laws will help ensure justice at work (Roger 2014).
As minimum wage was been a problem many years we look at companies like amazon who have already taken the initiative to help provide a fair $15 per hour wage. This will help over 350,000 workers who work or will work make more than the average living wage. As other companies such as Target and Walt Disney start to make this change towards the “Fight For Fifteen” we notice how it has become very important to raise minimum wage with correspondence to the change of living wage. The three articles describes minimum wage with connection to politics, living wage connections, and laws I came to the conclusion that increasing minimum wage to at least the living wage of each individual state is very important to ensure a healthy and more productive work environment.