Minimium Wage fight

Increase would not hurt Erie County's largest summer employer
Melissa Topey
Jun 8, 2014

SANDUSKY

While minimum wage earners in Seattle soon will be paid $15 per hour, Ohio legislators continue to participate in the national debate over the federal minimum wage rate.

Such a change, if it happens, is not likely to hinder the bottom line of Erie County's biggest seasonal employer.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) has condemned Senate Republicans for blocking the Fair Minimum Wage Act, a bill backed by President Barack Obama and a point of controversy following his January State of the Union address.

The federal minimum wage currently guarantees workers $7.25 an hour. Proponents of raising the wage say it has not kept up with inflation and, as a result, Americans struggle to put food on the table and pay for gas and utilities.

The bill, if enacted, would increase minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for about 28 million people and would bring 4.6 million people out of poverty, Brown's office confirmed.

“There are too many Americans who work full-time jobs to provide for their families but still fall below the poverty line,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “Congress must come together to help give millions the chance for financial security and our economy the chance to grow.”

Opponents to the increase argue it will stunt job growth. Proponents, like Brown, say it will generate 140,000 new jobs over the year.

An increase in the minimum wage should not affect Cedar Fair's bottom line, an executive admits.

It may affect how many people it would employ, however.

Cedar Fair is Erie County's largest employer with its flagship park Cedar Point.

Cedar Fair employs about 1,700 full-time employees and 41,000 seasonal employees in nine states and Ontario at its 11 parks, three outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels.

All full-time employees are already paid more than the minimum wage, said Matt Ouimet, CEO and President of Cedar Fair.

Seasonal employees, mostly students earning extra money or retirees, are the largest part of the amusement park operator's workforce. There are approximately 5,000 of these employees at Cedar Point, and they work for minimum wage.

In five of the states where Cedar Fair has operations, seasonal workers are earning more than the federal minimum wage, Ouimet said. 

In all of their parks, Cedar Fair finds practices to reduce the amount of increasing labor they use, either through capital investments or other ways to offset the labor cost to keep them competitive.

Ouimet feels an increase in the minimum wage could be a positive for the amusement park colossus.

“If in fact the wage goes up, there's going to be people out there who are going to want to come to an amusement park (to visit),” Ouimet said.

More disposable income in the hands of more people is how to break a sluggish economic recovery, said Peter Zehringer, Erie County Economic Development Director.

“I believe in adjusting it for inflation, which would bring it up to that $10.10 figure. That is long overdue,” Zehringer said.

A wage to lift a financial burden off the people needs to be done while the federal government focuses on job creation and the push of education for skilled jobs and internships, he said.

Comments

There you go again

If a family relies on a minimum-wage job then don't we need to raise the wage to, say, $20/hr?
What good would it do? Jobs would be scarce because McDonald, retail stores, etc. cannot afford to pay that without raising prices. So what good does it do for the American worker?

Bottom Line

Truly unbelievable how such a simple concept is so difficult for some people to grasp. And the people making minimum wage would be the FIRST ones hurt by such an increase.

Contango

Re: "people making minimum wage would be the FIRST ones hurt by such an increase."

You're spot on.

"Fast food CEO: Minimum wage hikes closing locations"

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101718126

Licorice Schtick

There are two pervasive but specious arguments against minimum wage increases, every time it comes up. One is silly and the other is sillier.

The Silly - that it's inflationary and EVERYONE is harmed. In truth, any incremental inflation is trivial and is more than offset by benefits to the economy generally and the affected workers in particular.

The Sillier - that the affected workers are harmed. While a few marginal businesses that can't survive without unfairly exploiting desperate low-wage labor might go under, the direct benefit to other workers is much greater, and the jobs created by the boosted economy gives even more benefit to workers.

I await the subject-changing, name-calling retort from Contango, who hates the classes of people whose ranks he fears joining, and derides anything resembling social or economic justice as communism or socialism.

From the Grave

I think there has to be two versions of the minimum wage~one for adults supporting themselves and/or families, and one for teens, and retired people who are drawing social security. Why should a 16 year be earning $10 an hour at his first job at McDonalds? I realize that it gets complicated as people turn 18, or when someone starts getting SS, but someone needs to figure that out, or it won't change anything for adults trying to support themselves at minimum wage.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I get what you are saying, Grave, but that just makes things more complicated with more paperwork, administrations, law "loopholes", law suits, people lost in the shuffle, etc. Australia is a good example of what you propose as it is tiered yet only a few days ago they are thinking of raising the wage up since there is still "inequality". So all of that for nothing.

What may be a good idea is to use the states as the experiments of democracy they are and have them and/or cities create a plan to create some kind of special economic zone. One where, as one example, no minimum wage is set making all employers have to compete against each other for employees instead of getting a defacto cartel sponsored by the government to act against the individual employee.

Of course why wait for the speed of government when private people are already looking to do the same thing much more efficiently and faster: "Paypal founder invests in floating island utopia
Peter Thiel, the billionaire Paypal founder and venture capitalist, has invested in a plan to create a floating island utopia that is not governed by the rules of any country."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/...

Could it all go awry? Sure, what can't? Our government is already failing its citizens on a daily basis as a standard part of being so broad and unsustainable. Experiments like that are unique. However I may question things if it ends up like...

http://youtu.be/QfZ30sfjdLY

Even China has set up these experiments with very interesting results: http://www.princeton.edu/~achane...

In fact not even are they making these places in China, China is seeking sites in the U.S. to do this. This article I read does a good job at discussing it rather neutrally and factually: http://www.policymic.com/article...

Lastly if you want an interesting graphic novel, pick up "Shenzhen" by Guy Delisle. It's a very interesting read from a stranger in a strange land kind of perspective: http://www.goodreads.com/book/sh...

From the Grave

I guess the reality is that if there were more jobs, then people could demand more pay. At this point, people feel like they are lucky to even have ANY job, and employers take advantage of that.

freethinker1

What good do it do for an American worker to have more money in his/her pocket? To pay the rent and put food on their table, for starters. We can either pay them a living wage, or we can continue to use our more of our tax dollars to subsidize the food stamps they need due to low income.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Are you of the opinion that if a business can't afford to pay at least $15.00/hr. to unskilled teens on their first job then they shouldn't be in business at all? I sure hope not but especially at places like the HuffPo that seems to be the feast-or-famine problem solver. Massive unemployment is apparently fine if those who have theirs are getting everything they want. It's quite aggravating.

Just keep in mind as you do rightfully seemed concerned about what the government spends that as the prices of goods and housing increases with the minimum wage so too will the payouts given to those on fixed incomes. Else how cruel would it be to keep people getting a certain amount every month at a fixed level of benefits that don't increase as COLA surges upwards? There will also still very much be poor people in this society after a $15/hr. Just as orange is the new black, $15 will be the pittance wage and the government's measuring agencies will just move the poverty goalposts to reflect that.

So we'll still have those getting government entitlements, those entitlements will have to be increased, we will still have poor, and all of those who aren't even making $15/hr. as an educated/experienced manager will necessarily have to be paid more for their position causing wage increases rippling upwards through all levels of employment including the execs (which in some circles are spoken of with venom as "the 1%").

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

Contango

@ HZ:

Gotta think that on slow business days, that you personally don't make even min. wage.

Aprox. 70% of the cost of labor is wages, the other 30% is composed of benefits (Soc. Security, Medicare, Unemployment ins. et. al.)

The most expensive component of any business is labor.

Little wonder then that in an economic downturn, labor is the first to go.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Honestly I make minimum wage most of the time as I only take what I need to get by from the business. I could probably qualify for government benefits if I really tried. But I'm a big, mean business owner who enjoys suppressing people's lives so it's ok if I don't make what I'm expected to pay others who don't know me, my business, or the circumstances of the people who come down to the store.

deertracker

Now let's look at the other side of the coin if you will. If I, the good 'ol American worker, work a full 40 hours per week, following all standard operating procedures, loyal to a fault, and also a law abiding citizen, shouldn't I be able to pay the rent and feed my family? Something has to give, the landlord wants his money, as do all the other necessary household vendors and there are only so many hours to work anyway. I'm not alone.

I don't know what the monetary numbers is that defines a fair and livable wage but if the business can't pay it they should not be in business. It's the cost of doing business. I truly see the businessman's point but you have to look at the whole picture. Why is it okay for the government to have to subsidize Wal Mart employees when they earn BILLIONS that's BILLIONS with a B, in NET profit? Wal Mart is not the only guilty corp. here either.

I hear the get more education argument but we all know that's not a guarantee. Fairness is just not too much to expect.

Bottom Line

Minimum wage jobs are not meant to "feed a family" or pay all the rent and utility bills. People like you thinking they should are the cancerous root of the problem.

Licorice Schtick

The pot calls the kettle black. Do you really think you would be better off if only those who already suffer where forced to suffer more? You pimp for wealth and power and the saddest part is that you believe in that.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

What you rent is not the business of the business from which you draw your checks. Are you renting a mansion? A cabin in the woods? Your check is yours to do with (and live within) as you will. But your bills aren't the concern of the business unless you want the business to control your purchases as well? Should you need your boss's permission to buy a certain brand of pasta? What happens if you want to purchase an adult novelty but don't have the money? Who do you need to ask for more money to do that or go see the latest movie?

As for why it is ok for government to do what it's doing? It seems you already have the answer that it isn't. However government is setting its own boundaries for what it considers various stages of entitlement. The left hand (not political reference) has not idea what the right hand is doing. One just throws numbers out there about what it thinks poverty is and the other just spends money into that formula. Problems like what you posted are caused because of the vastness and inefficiency of government.

I'll also ask that you consider what companies actually do with their profit. It isn't stored in a Scrooge McDuck-style vault of gold coins that the execs swim in every morning. It takes billions to develop technology, purchase fleets of semis, to make capital investments, research, and pay to stockholders. In the case of Walmart, that would be the employees. All the money being held by businesses, too, are in fear of the same trundling, half-blind government we discussed prior. Why make investments when the marketplace can be seized, taken over, or demonized at the whim of a man behind a podium (<-politically neutral)?

Fairness of outcomes do not exist. Well, they do but we simply can cast our eyes to North Korea. Everyone there is treated fairly and has equal access to health care, etc. No, I'm not being sarcastic. When nobody is allowed to achieve more than someone else tells them then this is what we see. If such misery exists because of the minimum wage being where it is now...who imposes the minimum wage? Who created it and forced it upon the marketplace? Equal access to the minimum wage (an equal outcome) doesn't seem to be fair in the scope I presume you are talking, does it?

You are right though in that none of us know what a "livable" wage is, including those who shout for it the loudest. Who are you or I to make such lines in the sand about the lives of others which we don't even know nor care to learn their circumstances? Who is closer to the lives of the employee? The one who hired them or the one that lives hundreds of miles away in a distant capital and against millions of other voices we have ours drowned.

As always, deertracker, I sincerely appreciate the conversation. I think we're bringing good points up not only for each other to consider but any who are following along.

Licorice Schtick

Hero Zone, all President Obama has asked for is $10.10/hr but apparently you can't make a case against that so you argue against $15/hr instead. This is a typical ploy of the dishonest.

Maybe you're a big mean classist with an inflated sense of self-esteem, because what you're paying yourself isn't relevant, what the business earns is. You could surely earn more than $15/hr as some else's employee, so is it an ego problem, or are you otherwise unemployable?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Ah so calling out loaded questions below is fine as long as you can get your personal attacks in here against me. This seems to be the typical ploy of the dishonest. But despite your pettiness...

I brought up the $15 because that is the number that has been used by fast food protests and because it was what I and Little Giant were using in our discussion before you decided to make the implication you did. But sure, let's use 10.10 and still ask the same question. When that amount (or 15, 30,or 100/hr) becomes 7.25 then what? We will just have the goalposts of poverty moved, still have poorpeople, still provide assistance (which will need to be adjusted up), etc.

Please spend more time addressing those concerns than making sideways jabs at people. Have a fantastic day, Licorice.

Licorice Schtick

Calling out loaded questions is not a ploy, not dishonest, and not petty. The opposite, really, and necessary to keep the discussion honest. But you have no better case.

I don't see the excuse for the $15 in the context of these comments; I think you knew it was easier to rail against, and knew full well that it was an isolated demand that had little traction locally, and even if it had, still totally out of the question nationally, and Seattle is a progressive outlier. You could admit, "Yes, discussing $10.10 would be more relevant."

You have your own SR column and yet when you arrive, the comments groan under the weight and length of your pompous, condescending, anti-labor diatribes. They bulldoze the opposition, deterring response because they take too flying long to read. You see the advantage you give yourself? It's cyberbullying. You needed a fraction of the time to read mine, and they can be on the long side. So don't whine about a little flaming; it's a tradition as old as the Internet.

You cyberbully your way, I'll cyberbully mine, but I only bully the bullies.

I will concede one thing; had I wished to be gentler, rather than, "This is a typical ploy of the dishonest," I might have said, "This is a common ploy," because I'm not sure you recognized what you were doing and so perhaps were not deliberately dishonest.

We might get along just fine in person. It's not personal, it's, you know, the internet.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

So even after I accepted your premise of $10.10 there is still no response to the completely neutrally-asked, non-loaded question that accompanied it as it accompanied every other value?

The question, my curiosity, is consistent despite the variable of pay rate. It is also backed up by an article I posted to Little Giant about how despite having the highest minimum wage it, Australia feels it needs to be even higher because it isn't "fair". I have provided copious other references to the "diatribe" I make in order to support it. So far I believe you have provided nothing of the sort including an answer to the original question which didn't even include a personal attack against you. Huh...

So there, Licorice. I am using your figure of $10.10. When $7.25 = $10.10, then what? If we make the case for wanting $10.10 because people can't pay bills, how can it then be stated that these same people will have EXTRA money to spend when the whole point was to take care of what they owe to break even?

What is keeping you from having your own column if you feel that somehow I use up some imaginary quota of speech here with mine AND commenting? Why don't you arrange a meeting with Mr. Westerhold like I did and lay out your case for wanting a column? Nothing is stopping you. For as much as he is called out as a liberal or party hack he graciously allowed me my column and as far as I know haven't had him squelch any of my comments here even if they may not be what he personally believes.

Now you can add whichever adjectives you want to your opinion of what I write. I give myself no advantage. If you (the general you, not necessarily you-you) choose to allow yourself to be intimidated simply by the length of a response which is cited, contains logic, honest questions, and is civil that sounds like a you-problem. However you figure me to be anti-labor, something you don't expand upon simply throw out and run away like a grenade, you can see that I may as well be arguing for $100/hour as the minimum wage.

Or you can see that all this wasted time, effort, and money wringing hands over something that WON'T HELP those it purports to is nothing more than a lack of context or understanding put forth by those in elected positions who can't seem to think or reason beyond their district's polls. Instead of discussing things that may actually help humanity, there is petty squabbling over the scraps at the bottom of the barrel.

So good sir or ma'am. You may cyberbully as you please within Mollom guidelines. I'll do no such cyberbullying as I continue to not to do. You can call out my sources at any point in time. You may use my own sources against me. You can bring in other sources. There are all manners of responses you can have. But just making presumptions that other people are too stupid to read my responses and chalk it up to bulldozing says much about how you must view others.

Instead I'll happily appeal to literacy, logic, citation, and try to raise the bar of conversation even if it means my conversational partner doesn't agree with me. I won't race with you to the bottom.

We may very well get along in person. You could even be one of my regulars. Nothing I post isn't made with that presumption. In fact I often enjoy showing these discussions to others there at the store to encourage their participation. But unless you hold yourself to a higher standard, nobody else can even if it is "just the internet".

looking around

RE: "The most expensive component of any business is labor."

According to the studies and comments from industry CEO's the cost of labor in the auto industry which is still one of the best paying jobs hourly is about 13 percent and has dropped to lower rates as wage and benefit packages have eroded and there is a two tier wage structure in place. Funny we haven't seen the price of the auto, it's maintenance and cost of parts drop. Huge profits are reported and still they cry. Luckily the workforce has union representation so there is hope that future negotiations will bring back some of the concessions and restore wage levels.

Bottom Line

How does minimum skills + minimum education + minimum motivation + minimum contribution to the the workplace = justification for huge increase in hourly wage?

deertracker

Truly unbelievable that you just don't get it!

Bottom Line

Then answer the question.

deertracker

Some of those people you speak of have college degrees, healthcare certifications, foodservice and technology certifications. What exactly do you consider minimum skills to be?

Bottom Line

You know many college grads and healthcare workers with minimum wage jobs? If you say yes, that's an outright lie.

So you couldn't answer my honest question above.

The Big Dog's back

Bottom of the barrel, When was the last time you visited reality?

Bottom Line

Thanks again for not answering a simple and direct question. Further proving my point.

Licorice Schtick

You ask only loaded questions, obviously rhetorical, that require no response, and the fact that you got none proves nothing.

deertracker

What do you think the term "under employed" means?

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