A major contention abut the minimum wage is that it doesn’t particularly do anyone any good. Sure, people gain more pay per hour worked. But they then get their hours cut. Some get their hours cut to zero. On the very simple indeed basis that we humans tend to use or buy less of something the more expensive it becomes. So, raise wages and we’ll buy less labour.
As appears to be happening here with Amazon and Whole Foods. Famously, Amazon decided to pay a $15 minimum wage to everyone who worked for the company. Whole Foods, the supermarket chain, was and is a part of Amazon. Thus all those supermarket workers now gain a $15 minimum.
Well, how excellent. So, we can now see what it would be like with that national $15 minimum that the Fight for $15 has been going on about. And the result isn’t pretty:
But since the wage increase, Whole Food employees have told the Guardian that they have experienced widespread cuts that have reduced schedule shifts across many stores, often negating wage gains for employees. “My hours went from 30 to 20 a week,” said one Whole Foods employee in Illinois. Workers interviewed for this story were reluctant to speak on the record for fear of retaliation. The Illinois-based worker explained that once the $15 minimum wage was enacted, part-time employee hours at their store were cut from an average of 30 to 21 hours a week, and full-time employees saw average hours reduced from 37.5 hours to 34.5 hours.
Of course, all those who argue in favour of the minimum wage rise insist that such a thing will never happen. No one will cut hours just because more has to be paid for each hour. Obviously, that’s wrong in theory but here we’ve the evidence that it’s wrong in reality.
So, minimum wage rises cost jobs, cost hours for workers. Just as all us right wing neoliberal types have been shouting for years. And the apologies are going to come in thick and fast now, aren’t they?