Minimum wage increase needed, not an inconvenience

Editor:

I am writing in response to the “minimum wage increase consequence” letter to the editor in the June 6 paper. Effective June 1st, the minimum wage increased by $1.20 per hour to $13.85, which I think is long overdue.

Hope employs a lot of minimum wage workers of all ages from teens to seniors. The cost of rental accommodations has risen where it is impossible for someone making minimum wage to afford decent housing. They are having to choose between eating or paying for everyday expenses such as heat, phone, etc. Any unexpected cost (missed work due to illness, vet bills, car repairs etc) can send them into a financial tailspin.

In the Hope Standard May 2015, there was an article about the “living wage” for the Fraser Valley. At that time, four years ago, it was $17.27. It has certainly increased since then.

The letter to the editor published last week was stated fast food franchise owners would have to absorb the additional cost because menu prices are set by head office. I see this as an internal company problem that would have to be reconciled within that company. We all know that it would likely mean passing the cost onto the consumers and the franchise owners would still be making their profit.

It is right for the B.C. Government to give a small increase to our lowest paid workers and let the prices of everything else and every company to then adjust their costs and profits. To do it the other way is to keep people working full time at $12.65/hour, and they would not be able to make ends meet.

These are the working poor. Every dime they earn goes out to pay living costs. They have no savings. Most can’t even afford a burger at McDonald’s, and many are still receiving financial help from their parents to make ends meet even when they are in their 30s and up, which puts an additional strain on seniors who still subsidize their grown kids and grand kids.

I’m a senior and I don’t mind having to pay a bit more for a burger if it means the employees are treated fairly.

Linda Kaji

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