The minimum wage: how fair is $15?

Bryant Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Just recently, the New York State Wage Board announced that fast-food workers would begin earning $15 an hour. The wage increase will take place over the next three years in New York City and the next six years elsewhere in the state. 

The “Fight for 15” movement has resonated with fast-food workers across the country as they try and attain what they deem is a fair working wage. To raise a family of four in the United States today, this movement believes that $15 an hour is an appropriate minimum wage to live on. However, working in the fast food industry was never meant to be a lifelong career. Instead, it was meant to be a stepping-stone into the general workforce where there would be higher paying positions available.  

While it’s true that the current New York State minimum wage is too low, at $8.75, a jump to $15 is far too high. A reasonable increase would be between $11 and $12 an hour, after which, the new wage would be pegged with inflation. 

Raising the minimum wage will likely have a negative impact on both existing and prospective employees. Weekly hours would be cut to compensate for the increase resulting in smaller paychecks. Due to the near-double increase in wages in such a short period of time, overall purchasing power would decrease. 

Purchasing power is how far a dollar goes in buying products. If prices rise rapidly due to the wage increase, purchasing power declines, essentially leaving people who are fighting for a higher minimum wage back to where they were in the first place. 

Furthermore, people who do not get a wage increase, such as workers who are already making above the minimum wage, will see their dispensable income erode. 

Why did New York State only increase the minimum wage for fast-food workers? There are plenty of other jobs in which people are making the bare minimum, yet those workers did not get an increase. Although New York will eventually increase wages for the general workforce, there is a better way to increase one’s income. 

The best way to prove one’s worth as an employee and get a higher wage is through hard work and applying one’s skills and personal attributes to advance in the workplace. In other words, putting one’s self above others for opportunities, such as promotions and raises. This movement seems more like a sense of entitlement rather than a sincere movement to increase worker satisfaction and economic well-being.


By: Kristen Catalano, Staff Writer


One of the most discussed and disputed issues in New York today is minimum wage. More specifically, whether or not the government should raise minimum wage to $15 or keep it as it is now, which is $8.75. 

On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration officially approved the plan to gradually increase minimum wage for fast-food employees to $15. Although this angers a lot of people, there are many positive things that can result from this increase in minimum wage. 

I believe that an increase in minimum wage would benefit so many people as well as the economy as a whole. People should try and see the beneficial aspect of raising the minimum wage  and put their personal feelings aside. 

A recent study proves that it is impossible to afford New York City rent on minimum wage. Therefore, with an increase in minimum wage, there would also be an increase in the standards of living. A 2013 report from the Congressional Budget Office estimates that if an increase of minimum wage occurs, more than 900,000 workers would be able to rise above the poverty threshold. As more workers are able to supply themselves with what they need to survive, a decrease in the amount of people on government and state sponsored programs would most likely occur. 

Another positive thing that most people do not consider is that an increase in minimum wage could increase consumer spending. Since people will be making more, they would have more money to spend, which will boost the economy. 

An increase in minimum wage could also result in better work habits from the employees since they would feel that they are actually working for what they deserve, rather than feeling cheated every time they clock in to work.

Anyone who has worked for minimum wage before knows how it feels to work all week long and still feel as though you have nothing at the end of the week to show for it. A wage increase may give employees that extra boost they need to help keep customers going to the establishment they are working at. This, in turn, will help keep turnover rates down and help restaurant owners as well. 

Although I think that an increase in minimum wage is definitely needed and deserved, I do feel that some research should go into how much it would be raised to in every other state. The research ensures that everyone, including those who do not work for fast-food restaurants, is working for what they deserve.