Battling over wages

Like many who earn a little more than the minimum wage, Brittany Workman struggles to balance her needs with her paycheck.
Marie Havenga
Apr 22, 2013


Workman makes $7.75 an hour as a cashier at Orchard Market in Spring Lake. That's 35 cents an hour above Michigan's $7.40 minimum wage, and 50 cents more than the federal mandate of $7.25.

Pennies aside, it's still a struggle, Workman said.

“Being post-grad at Michigan State University, I have $600-a-month student loan payments,” said Workman, 23.

The Fruitport woman said a bill introduced recently in Lansing that would raise the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour over the span of three years would be “extremely significant” in her budgeting.

“That would really help a lot,” Workman said.

Orchard Market Director of Operations Alex Rogalla said he'll be closely watching the proposed state legislation, which he said could have far-reaching effects in the business world.

“There have been minimum wage increases over the years and they're needed because of the cost of living, but you should do it in moderation,” he said. “That's not moderation.”

Michigan's minimum wage was last increased in 2008.

Rogalla said about a third of the grocery store's 65 employees are near the minimum wage level.

“Anybody who has been with you for a few years, even if they're not at minimum wage, would get bumped up," he said. "It's not just who you hire — it's anybody you have that's not sitting at that level when that (legislation) goes through."

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



...tracking with this shiny object...So easy to quiet this controversy, (college transcripts) down, so hard for this smart man to put it to rest! Wonder why?


Lan, not to continue this off topic discussion however, considering there were 145 collective signatures between the signers of the Declaration of Independence(57), the Constitution(40), and the Articles of Confederation(48) 30 Founding Fathers holding degrees is far less than the majority that did not.(worthy of noting, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were self taught.)

I too, was tracking with your well articulated post until you ran aground with your "except Obama, of course!" observation. Thankfully, I'm comfortably numb right now and immune to your krypto-lan ideology and will not take your bait, but see glimmers of hope for you yet.

I encourage you to keep reciting the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. After every read compare our Founding Fathers actions and intentions to that of our current President's and list their similarities. As an intended olive branch, I've included Vlad's, Wing's, GH Taxpayer's, GHJohn's, and my list below:

Let me know if you have any questions Lan?

Thank you!


Thank you, d! Inspired by your comment, but also realizing the tangent is about to be pushed even further, I thought you might be interested in this description of G. Washington (George Washington, Vol 5).

"His patriotism was absolute because it represented a supreme ideal to which he had resolved to be loyal at any price...What he was he made himself by will, by effort, by discipline, by ambition and by perseverance. For the long and dangerous journeys of his incredible life, he had the needful strength and direction because he walked that straight line."


It should make little difference except that a position or two will be eliminated at many businesses, especially where employers can't afford to pay folks more than what they are worth.


there you go, the college boys excising there expertize about correctness, you must be proud and off base from the subject


In order to maintain their profits, raising the minimum wage would only increase the cost of goods and services. And then the companies would raise the prices to off set the wage increases. A no win situation for employees.


This is an awesome idea. First let's run all the small business out of the State (are they already coping with the train-wreck know as Obamacare or am I falling for propaganda?) Then for the punch-in-the-gut let's invite a few hundred thousand unemployable people from other states who would come here with the promise of $10.00 / hour dancing in the head?

Good Lord - we are doomed.


Some questions:

1. Is she part time or full time, and does she receive any other benefits in addition to her salary? (Clearly, her employer at least has to pay its portion of taxes for
Social Security taxes (6.2% up to the annual maximum)
Medicare taxes (1.45% of wages)
Federal unemployment taxes (FUTA)
State unemployment taxes (SUTA))

2. What is the going rate of pay for grocery cashiers in her category (part or full time) in neighboring states?

3. How did she amass such student debt that she now owes $600/month (presumably for both undergraduate and graduate loans?)

4. What degree has she received and will she receive? (A PhD in feminist and gender studies is unlikely to provide a post-graduate salary similar to engineering/science/economics, etc, and it is an individual's responsibility to determine whether they can support themselves based on the education loans they subject themselves to)

5. If her degree is in economics, she might realize that an increase in the minimum wage to $10/hr may result in an employer deciding that paying that plus all the taxes plus taking the other risks as an employer may not be worth retaining her. (Maybe going to mostly automated checkouts like Meijers and its unions have agreed upon, even though Walmart, which takes all the heat, hires real people to operate check-outs.

6. If she is full time with employer health care, does she realize that as a result of Obamacare, her employer may change her to part time and pay the fines, throwing her into the expensive state exchanges?

Finally, for everyone who will no longer patronize Orchard because of this story, even though they apparently thought the quality of the meat/produce/variety etc, caused them to shop there before, try to buy produce from an automated checkout process.


Nicely stated, Vlad. I suspect you have a working knowledge of economics, a topic that is mostly misunderstood. It is sad that some students graduate with a non-marketable degree and with little or no work experience. That, however, is not the government's problem, nor is it a problem solved by raising minimum wage. It is solved by teaching financial literacy throughout middle school and high school.


I used to work there. They have no full time cashiers and only pay benefits for full time employees. The only full time employees are management. As is usual in retail, no one who works there, even management, is overpaid by any stretch of the imagination.

The wages are competitive with what every other retailor in the area pays....I'm laughing at everyone who says they're going to stop shopping there, because I have NO idea where they plan to go that doesn't have the bulk of its staff on less than $10 an hour. I worked there for a LONG time, longer than I should have for two simple reasons: First, I liked it. I liked the people I worked with, and as employers go Orchard Markets is pretty employee friendly. For good or bad, it's almost impossible to get fired. Secondly, every time I thought about leaving, I would check different retail stores and see what they were paying and I would have been taking a pay CUT! I realized I would have to get out of retail entirely to make any money, and that's exactly what I did.

These people are unfairly targeting Orchard Market when the wage scale is exactly the same everywhere! They are acting like the employees are indentured servants...when in fact, they are there by choice and accepting the position knowing the rate. Raising the rate to $10 an hour is really not going to "greatly help" a 20 hour a week job pay a $600 a month student loan. This girl needs to get a different job, period. Most people don't work in the field that they have a degree in, but some degrees are more valuable than others. This is more or less a sad commentary on student debt and job prospects.


Thanks for bringing knowledge, experience, and rationality to the table.


What? are you suggesting you only got what was fed to you? Bad dog! Go to your kennel.


Vlad, stop being logical and just feel guilty for crying out loud!!!!!!


Good one!


These Obamacare arguments cropping up sound like a bottle of bad mouthwash that has exceeded it's shelf life. The fact is that there is nothing more valuable to an employer (at least one worth their salt) than a healthy, productive employee. When chronic health problems begin to reduce efficiencies, it affects not only the sick employee and other workers, but the momentum of a growing business.

An employer who values his workers and their contributions recognizes that paying a decent, competitive wage pays big dividends. When an employee meets goals productively, a good employer recognizes a decent wage commensurate with that productivity makes good business sense.

Having said that, the grocery industry is notoriously competitive, and operates on very slim profit margins.


Tell that to all of the employees who have lost real wages because their employers were provided the opportunity to make them part time to avoid Obamacare taxes while shifting the burden to the taxpayer, which is what Obama planned. Tell that to all the employees who can't see their own doctors, and can't afford the Obamacare insurance because of the Obama regulations and the incompetence of the Obama administration in even executing their faulty program. Tell that to the roofers union, who want out. Tell that to the Dem Congressmen who are being inundated by their constituents' complaints about the program they rammed through Congress with bribes and kickbacks, under the inappropriate process of reconciliation. Tell that to Max Baucus and Jay Rockefeller. The mouthwash you're selling appears to be laced with a substance that normally is found at the other end of a male bovine.


Get comes the subject change. Lan, your better when talking about the Volkswagon days when you where a republican!


And as to you, Wing, please refer to my final comment to your reply in UPDATE: 2nd Bombing Suspect In Custody. Repeat after me.....


Ah yes - there's nothing like the smell of spring paddies in the morning. In your rush to retribution, not to mention topic change, you turn to ungulates with the vim and vigor of a wine turned to vinegar.

As to your rabid reply to my reasonable comment, prove it.


Bob and weave, no answer to Vlad as I stated, just subject change. Quick Lan, look there is something shiny over here!


Oh that shiny thing - it looks like beads of sweat on your brow.....


Still no answer! Supposed intellectuals sure have a hard time accepting defeat.


You are so right! I'm still waiting for Vlad to back up his assertions with facts.......crickets.......


I feel that I should be granted amnesty and all the privileges and emoluments attendant thereto for doing the work that Lanivan and The Liberals won't do. . . .

1. Why Obamacare Incentivizes Part-Time Job

2. Seven million will lose insurance under Obama health law

3. Baucus warns of 'huge train wreck' enacting ObamaCare provisions

4.Dems Start Running From ObamaCare At the meeting Baucus questioned how the health insurance exchanges would be able to interact with the ‘archaic’ Social Security and IRS computers. When Baucus wrote that part of the bill, shouldn’t he have been aware of this? We are not talking chump change here.
Maria Cantwell was upset that the Basic Health Program (an option for states to provide cost-efficient health coverage outside of Medicaid and the law’s new insurance exchanges) is delayed until next year. She also wanted to know if the costs to taxpayers are being artificially raised to “lure them onto the exchange.”
Senator Wyden was very concerned that millions of Americans (who make too much to be eligible for federal subsidies) will be priced out of family health coverage at work.
Bill Nelson, who sold his soul for the Cornhusker Kickback, ‘hammered’ HHS for inviting Congress to cut funding for a new nonprofit insurance model. Huh? Isn’t he a member of Congress????

5. Roofers union calls for Obamacare’s repeal

Now it's your turn - refute, with appropriate sourcing, any of the assertions I made. (No bright shiny objects over there, please)


She's been quiet for a few hours on this...maybe she jumped the fence and she's out chasing car tires!


Don't rush me! I've been busy singing and dancing to the restorative powers of "Hair of a Dog" after the whooping Vlad gave me on gun control and immigration. You have to train for this stuff - oh, you wouldn't know about that....sorry, oh well, I'll be storming the beaches and hills soon.....


Maybe you should just march "Over the hills and far away" - Led Zeppelin. Na, don't do that we wouldn't have any enlightened discussions over our American Pie!

by the way, no training needed when applying common sense, its not taught in academia anyway!


Great link and I enjoyed the read even though old English is not enjoyable for me to read and it hath forced me to skip thru it. I will bookmark thy post for future reference.

"Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil in its worst state an intolerable one." Not only displaying common sense but visionary and inspiring words "Ship building is America's greatest pride, and in which, she will in time excel the whole world"

At no other time in human history has the world seen such a combination of visionary, articulate, thoughtful people come together and put into writing the most amazing document(s) to govern the common man, by the common man! We are a lucky people, lets not blow it!


Brilliant, Vlad. I love how you chose Payne, who was dismissed as an excise officer in England while lobbying for higher wages, as a link in a piece entitled "Battling Over Wages". You are the man.



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