New York state recently set a precedent by raising the minimum wage of fast food workers to $15 per hour. While those workers celebrate, and rightfully so, they face a backlash in the court of public opinion. But whether you agree or disagree with the ruling, the two prevailing arguments are missing the point and creating bigger problems.
The first point of view comes from the workers and their main supporters. They make valid points in that the current minimum wage of New York does not meet the high cost of living in that state, most notably those inside New York City. They argue that those jobs are the only work many can get to support themselves or their families. This is fact that is tough to debate. Where they take it too far is when they argue about their company's owners or CEOs drastically higher income compared to theirs. Let's get this straight, you are on the front lines baring the brunt of the work dealing with rude customers and pouring your blood, sweat and tears into a sometimes thankless job. It's easy to hate the "suits" whose income is exponentially higher than yours when they sit in air conditioned offices and penthouse suites.
But here's what they're not thinking about, those executives are earning that higher paycheck. It's less physical work, but they are running a multi-billion dollar corporation, and ensuring you have a job. They had better be making a lot more than you! Otherwise where's the incentive and reward to move up that corporate ladder to deal with the mental stress and overwhelming demand that is put on every decision? And let's not forget those mid-level or small businesses where the owner/operator is pulling double duty working "in the trenches" then doing the corporate work when they can. They deserve more than the person that's just punching the clock, doing their job, then going home and not thinking about that business until their next shift.
Now comes the counter-point, those supporting the CEOs and owners. The person on top had better be making more than the new hire with no skills. One reason why they should? That number that the #News and that workers like to grab ahold of and put on their posters and in their chants might be the take home, but if they are good at their job and actually care about the business then some, if not most of that money is being re-invested directly back into said business to make it better. They argue that higher wages from the bottom means less money going into the business, and again they're right. It's also cutting in to the profit line, which no executive ever wants to do. So that money has to come from somewhere, which means people may be getting laid off or fired. If you're paid more, you can expect more will be asked from you, to step up and fill in that gap in the workforce now.
So what's the answer? Workers, first off realize you're not fighting against the office for what you're worth. You are fighting for yourself, your way of life, and what you truly are worth. And executives, you aren't fighting against your employees. You are fighting for your business. By offering a more competitive wage, you grant yourself the ability to be more selective in your hiring process. You're looking for someone that takes pride in their work, willing to step up and not just earn that paycheck, because they know if they make the business better than everyone involved wins. They will be rewarded with raises, perks, or more opportunities. You will be rewarded with a happy workforce that increases your bottom line without blaming you for being greedy and catering to Wall Street. Remember, if you fight for something it's much more rewarding than just trying to beat the person you're fighting against.