It's time to help low-wage workers

February 15, 2014 

The debate over the minimum wage is finally an issue on the minds of many Americans. After having read the pros and cons from a multitude of legislators, columnists and economists it is time we address this issue.

Conservatives argue, in part, that raising the minimum wage will force job creators to reduce their workforce and/or raise prices, harming the economy. Liberals argue that raising it will allow people to better support their households, buy more goods and become less dependent on government social programs.

One argument seems to imply that no minimum wage requirement would be the panacea for our economy. The other argument would have to recognize a burden to some employers, but not all.

I was fortunate to have worked my entire career under collective bargaining agreements and was afforded wages and benefits enabling me to own a home, provide for my children and retire comfortably with Social Security, a pension and Medicare benefits. All of my employers are still in business and continue to provide comparable wages and benefits to their workforce.

When organized labor represented a greater percentage of the workforce, workers had the opportunity to elevate to more skilled, higher-paying jobs while making a living wage. As the organized workforce diminished, few people championed the plight of minimum wage workers. In fact, many of us benefited financially at the expense of underpaid workers.

Now is the time to reconcile those past injustices and help the low wage workers. Contact your legislators to support raising minimum wage.

James R. Berger


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