The Partnership has been quite vocal about opposing a $15 minimum wage in New York State, and for good reason. Drastically increasing the minimum wage would make it much more difficult for employers to retain their workforce, which is already a challenge for many key industries in Western New York. In response to the proposed increase, the BNP has joined on as a coalition member of the Minimum Wage Reality Check group.
This increase would hurt workers as well, not just the business community. Consider the example of area manufacturers: manufacturers pride themselves on paying family sustaining wages that start well above the minimum level, which is currently set at $9/hour in New York. In addition to paying several dollars per hour more than the minimum, manufacturers also often provide full benefits and retirement accounts to their employees.
Furthermore, manufacturing employees are hired with the intention of growing within the company – that is, progressing from their entry-level position to higher up the ladder over several years, with increases in pay corresponding with each level increase. Manufacturers provide careers for their employees, not just jobs. If the minimum wage increased to $15/hour, the starting wage for manufacturers would have to increase several dollars above that. It would also bump up each level’s wage in the career chain, exponentially increasing the costs of hiring each additional worker.
Now, think about recruitment for these positions. As a potential employee, currently, manufacturing may seem more attractive given the benefits and above-minimum pay. However, if working at a fast food restaurant (without benefits and career advancement opportunity) can provide a similar starting wage, potential employees would be less-inclined to pursue a training program to get into a manufacturing career.
It’s no secret that manufacturing is facing a workforce shortage already. By reducing the pool of potential workers, many of our local manufacturers that have driven Buffalo Niagara’s economy for decades will be forced to cut jobs, ship production overseas, or possibly close their doors for good.
The combined effects of this minimum wage increase – exponentially increasing the costs for employers, and reducing the potential labor pool – would have devastating effects on local companies, particularly manufacturers.
We are asking you to join us in helping to educate people about the negative economic impact of a $15 minimum wage by sharing your story. We are currently collecting testimonials from small business owners as part of the Minimum Wage Reality Check Coalition. Please consider lending your voice to this effort and stand up against a 67 percent increase in the minimum wage and the resulting job losses and higher prices.
For more information, please contact Grant Loomis, Vice President, Government Affairs