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."

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Comments

Wingmaster

I knew I would end up going back to the above mentioned bookmark for you.

"SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins"-Thomas Paine

Did that in under 10 minutes without having an academia breakdown and just using my common sense!

Lanivan

And to add to my streams of consciousness continuum, talk about mixed signals! You provide a link to the icon of American common sense and independent rational thought - Thomas Payne, and then proceed in another variation of thought pattern to announce our denouement because I didn't use outside links as shiny objects but instead chose common sense and rational thought.

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.”
― Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

Vladtheimp

You know, I can understand reasonable people reaching different conclusions on complex issues. I can understand such conclusions being reached in part based on the source material different people use and their different life experiences. I do find it difficult to understand how someone can be presented with facts and simply ignore them because they don't comport with one's own reasoning and logic. I have come to believe that you have a filter somehow blocks any facts that place Obama in a bad light - it's either that or dishonesty, and since I don't know you I certainly wouldn't accuse you of the latter.

Whatever, there is a certain superciliousness that is sometimes difficult to take. I make a few assertions based on my reading, my experience, my logic and you decide I have to prove them. In the interest of possibly imparting some new information, whether it be the roofer's union position, the displeasure of leading democrats in the implementation of Obamacare, the transformation of jobs from full to part time, or the large numbers of people losing insurance, I undertake due diligence and locate the sources for my assertions. I then challenge you to do the same to refute them, and I get back a soliloquy laced with unsourced partisan ideas and logic. When I question why there are no sources, the response is defensiveness that the Lions wish they could produce touting your ability to create composites, your dutifully researching topics, your characterization of linked sources and quotations as "props of the trade," and your common sense and rational thought, ending with
"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.”

I get it - your composite trumps my actual sources; your common sense and rational thought are superior, and I have renounced the use of reason - I think I now understand how similar you and your Presidential idol are - from having the highest regard for your liberal superiorities, to the use of composites in writing (his was a girlfriend).

Lanivan

I suppose I am to be grateful you have substituted "stream of consciousness" for "soliloquy", however, I find that gratitude wanting. Trust me - my intent is never to appear supercilious or dishonest. Please don't spin this in that direction. I say what I mean, and I call it as I see it. Apologies if I do not make myself clear, but there is the little problem of you not objectively reading what I'm writing. At this point in time, I question your motivation in detracting from my comments by suggesting either.

I meant exactly what I said. I studied your links and found them biased. For example, the roofer's union position - digging deeper, I found this link that possibly sheds some light on the subject..http://www.shrm.org/hrdiscipline...

Your link on the the displeasure of democrats was written for a partisan source and I could easily plug in republican names and change the title to "Republicans Bailing on Immigration", or any number of other topics, and it would read the same. And the comments on those links are disturbing - such hate, disrespect, paranoia, disinformation. This was true of almost all except Forbes, which is generally fairly unbiased. To cut to the chase, I can not continue to debate these complex issues that, upon researching, become disturbing. It seems I continually come up against Pandora's Box, and opening I discover a genie in a bottle, that once is out will not go back in. Debating the pros and cons of the ACA is tortuous, tedious, and very unsatisfying for so many reasons. And besides, your m.o. is to promptly declare my sources partisan and echo chamber talking points, etc, so why bother?

This has nothing to do with Obama, but everything to do with politics in general, and your need to label me, and people who think like me (there are more out there you know). And for the love of God, don't call me a liberal! Really, even though my composites occasionally trump your sources....

Lanivan

There is a theme to your links, and that is the need for education, instruction, and accurate information to counter the many deep and persistent misconceptions people and businesses have. The education process has been stalled for three reasons: The primary inner workings of the program do not begin until 2014; federal and state congressional Repubs, for the past four years, have promoted the idea that the program will be repealed, and based their arguments on primarily false information (death panels, just one example); and the need to receive the Supreme Court's blessing on the constitutionality of the ACA.

The Obama administration is planning on an educational campaign beginning this summer, according to one of your links, which should help individuals and small businesses have a better understanding of how the program will affect them. Romneycare in Massachusetts is a valuable laboratory for Obamacare (guess we owe him a big debt of gratitude), and one of the main takeaways after several years of implementation is that there is no evidence that Romneycare has had any effect on the number of part-time jobs versus full-time jobs.

The fact is that employers have been increasing the use of part-time and temporary workers for decades. Wages for full-time permanent jobs have been in decline for decades. This trend has nothing to do with the ACA. Will the program exacerbate this trend? Perhaps, although, again, there is no evidence to prove that it will based on Massachusetts or other countries that have had similar programs in place for many years.

Right now, people who have no health insurance, for whatever reason, and rely on emergency care for basic health care, are costing the US taxpayer an exorbitant amount of money, and the skyrocketing cost of medical care, the main reason for the ACA, is the consequence. The ACA forces those people to take personal responsibility for their health care when they've been free-loading the system at our expense. If they are employed, they very well might see a wage/benefit package that looks different under ACA regulations - one where the wage will be less to compensate for the addition of health insurance premiums. This is what personal responsibility looks like. I know of a situation where an uninsured person, choosing to not take a medication regularly because they didn't want to pay the fairly nominal cost, ended up in the ICU for weeks with a final tally in excess of $100,000. If there was ever a situation that needed a major paradigm adjustment, this is one.

You can pretty much bet the bank that there are employers out there who see a golden opportunity to blame the ACA for reduced wages and a cut in hours. We've seen the push-back and public uproar when this has become publicized. It basically boils down to the philosophy of the employer, how they value their workers, and their essential business plan. Personally, I have no interest in expending the extra time, energy, and resources on paperwork, scheduling, and processing that the hiring of two part-time workers versus one full-timer would entail. The inherent inefficiency would be too detrimental on many levels.

One can approach the program with the attitude that they do not want it to work; one can find links galore that support their attitude; one can base their attitude on speculation, innuendo, and lack of information. The fact remains that the ACA has been deemed constitutional, it is progressing, more states are embracing health insurance exchanges for the financial benefits it affords (see Snyder's analysis). Will it work smoothly right out the gate? No - it will need tweaking just like every other major national program. I also understand this type of program is anathema to you and those who share your philosophy, and I can not provide a link or rebuttal that could change that fact.

Vladtheimp

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Tom Sawyer you ain't. I made a number of assertions in a comment. You challenged me to document them. I took a great deal of time to provide documentation. You responded with generalized democrat talking points interspersed with bright shiny objects in a stream of consciousness style that puts James Joyce to shame.

I retire from this particular field until such time as you can meet the challenge of refuting the assertions I made, sourced, without bright shiny objects. Good day to you, madam.

Lanivan

If it's the comparison of apparent time spent on the topic that is of concern, I assure you I've spent a great deal of time researching the ACA since it's inception, both on a personal and business level. I carefully read your links and many others before embarking on my post. I suppose there is no way of comparing hours each of us has spent, so it's probably a wash-out.

If it's the lack of links that has upset you, I would be happy to provide them. I think it's safe for me to say that, by now, you surely recognize I dutifully read up on the topic du jour when sparring with you. If you believe that anything in my comment is a direct falsehood, please inform me and I will rectify. And, by the way, I spent a great deal of time on my comment, or "stream of consciousness" as you label it, without the benefit of fillers, such as links, quotes, and other props of the trade, for a reason - there is so much available that it becomes burdensome, and your own links provided much of the content of my comment.

My comment was a composite of all sources I've read, both provided by you and my own, regarding the ACA and it's relationship to the topic of this piece. My conclusion is exactly what I wrote - the ACA is a monumentally complex subject, and there is a myriad of misinformation and lack of education circulating that muddies the water and renders the subject to a pitting of link against link, attitudes against attitudes, misinformation against misinformation, Republican talking points versus Democrat talking points.

My intent in my "stream of consciousness" was not to hurl "bright shiny objects" in your direction (gah - James Joyce - really??). It's unfortunate you have chosen to take that position, but after debating many complex topics, one would hope you would have reached a certain level of understanding of my personal philosophy and approach. I know I have tried mightily to understand yours. And I might add, if you honestly and objectively review past posts, I think you might detect a pattern in reverse - you throw out assertions and throw down the gauntlet, I rebut them with links, and you reject them with a brief statement. I feel I have met the "challenge" many times over, and with no acknowledgement for my efforts from you. Unless you consider any subsequent reply on your part an unspoken acknowledgement.

I would ask you to reconsider, but of course understand if you chose in the negative.

BTL2A

Employers want to pay their employees more and want to hire more workers that's part of yhe readin why Snyder lowered the business tax right?

Hoofhearted

I'm pretty sure that when this girl went for her interview they told her how much she would make. No one forced her to work there. Are you willing to pay higher prices for your food so they can pay their employees more money? You liberal morons think money grows on trees.

AtomicRooster

I have been in Orchard Market several times since I have moved back into the area. I will give them this, they are the cleanest store I have ever been in and I can see they take pride in excellent housekeeping. But I think the managers of that store have to get real. I am sure they are making well above minimum wage. I know that the vast majority of the employees there are not even getting by on minimum wage and that is just plain ridiculous. This is 2013 not 1913. The prices there are utterly ridiculous on top of it. Way overinflated. I can only imagine they have to have tremendous turnover because most people do not stick around on those low of wages. I would bet a month of Sundays that when the minimum wage increases to $10.00 an hour they will lay off as many employees as they can and expect them to do the work of 3 people each. And the remaining will have their hours cut drastically. They will become the new Wal-Mart. You can count on it.

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