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Weakening the Minimum Wage Not Good for Economy or Workers

Posted by Lori Pfingst at Jan 31, 2013 03:40 PM |
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The proposed “training wage” that would lower the minimum wage for new workers would undermine economic security for Washingtonians and weaken our economy.

Under  proposals being considered by the Legislature, House Bill 1150 and Senate Bill 5275, new workers could be paid less than the minimum wage ($6.89 per hour instead of $9.19 per hour), for up to 680 hours of work.  

Protections for workers, such as the minimum wage, support a strong middle class. Lowering it, particularly at a time when someone is entering or returning to the workforce, would mean individuals and families would not be able to meet basic monthly needs as determined by the state (see graph). A person  working 40 hours per week, for example, could only cover 92 percent of basic needs like food and shelter, and a family of four would be able to meet just half (50 percent) of their basic needs.

training_wage2

Paying workers less than what they need to cover basic needs hurts family economic security and independence, potentially leading to more need for support services like Basic Food and WorkFirst. A strong economy is dependent on the economic security of individuals and families.  In such a weak economy, lawmakers should be focused on supporting workers, not undermining them.
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