Corridor Workers May Have to Give Their Raises Back
Imagine you got a raise of at least a dollar an hour and months later it was taken away from you, by no fault of your own. That could be happening for an awful lot of employees in the corridor.
Thursday night, the Iowa House approved a billed called "Local Preemption Provisions." According to WHO, It would reverse minimum wage increases in Linn, Johnson, and Wapello counties where wages have been set above the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. I'm greatly bothered by this because the people that will pay the consequences are people from those counties who need the money probably more than anyone else.
In Linn County, the minimum wage increased to $8.25 on January 1 of this year. That dollar an hour increase that workers are now enjoying is undoubtedly making a difference in their lives but that's just the tip of the paycheck, if you will.
In Johnson County, it would be even worse. The minimum wage in that county is currently $10.10 per hour. Johnson County workers have seen stair steps to $8.20 per hour in November of 2015; $9.15 per hour starting in May of last year; $10.10 January 1 of this year. Imagine being one of those people that could lose $2.85 off their hourly wage. If they work 29 hours per week, you're talking about $82.65 per week and $330.60 per month. That's devastating.
The minimum wage bill, or HF295, would roll back the minimum wage in Linn, Johnson, and Wapello counties to $7.25 per hour and make it illegal for cities or counties to raise it above whatever the state minimum wage is.
Linn County posted a document about the minimum wage last year. It showed that more than 18,000 people could be the beneficiary of a raise to the county's minimum wage. It also indicated 52 percent of people in the county that make minimum wage are full-time employees. It also says that in order to meet basic needs, an average single person in the county needs to make $12.16 an hour. A married couple with two children and two working parents needs an average wage of $16.28. A single parent with two children? A whopping $27 per hour. Those are startling numbers but shed a little light on just how devastating ANY type of rollback could be when the wage gap is already SO wide.
If the "minimum wage" bill passes, my first hope and challenge for business owners is if it's possible for you to survive by doing so, please continue to pay your employees at the current rate.
My second challenge would be for state legislators to get off their butts and start helping those Iowans who have jobs that pay the minimum allowed by law. It's 2017, folks, and $7.25 doesn't cut it. Could you make it on that wage? I know I couldn't. I should also note, there aren't currently any bills in the pipeline that would raise the state's minimum wage.