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.
 

Comments

bunnylou

Back in the 70's & 80's when we were dealing with the "higher" price of gas and prices increasing for all else I got two more jobs in addition to my primary job! No degrees but did have a diploma from an exceptional private school. Equivalent to a degree! Had four children and wages were much much lower than! More government gives you less freedom. We didn't do family vacations. We didn't go to movies. We did ride bikes, go on walks and spent time outdoors! We allowing government to put us in the position we are today is not good for anyone except for the ones that want handouts and don't wish to work for what they get. This is my opinion. You don't like that's tough. Try harder at being self sufficient.

biped

Well, that fancy private school education (equivalent of a college degree, HA!) certainly wasn't worth the money. Your grammar is deplorable.

Stargate

...and, obviously, having average grammar skills, such as yours, doesn't improve ones ability to be a decent human being. YOUR RESPONSE is what is deplorable.

SignalMaintainer

The minimum wage does not even come close to the cost of living. Luckily I make well above the average cost of living.

Basically, the owners/executives are taking much more pay, while not increasing the wages for employees, even though corporations are making record profits.

Alex's comment about the minimum wage has convinced me to look elsewhere for my grocery shopping. I usually shop at Orchard Market, but if Alex does not value his hard-working employees, then I do not value their presence in our community. I will start shopping at a store that actually values its employees. It is fricken sad that I am making four times the wages of the cashier mentioned in this article, yet I bet she has a much more stressful job than me, and probably works much harder. My job consists of routine monotony, occasionally interrupted by chaos; her job is most likely chaos all day checking out customer after customer day in and day out.

That being said, people could stretch their dollar much more by not confusing wants with needs. Today everyone feels like they need a house full of stuff, and it ends up owning you. Trust me from experience, life is much more enjoyable when you simplify and cut down on what you own or 'need'. Check out http://reddit.com/r/declutter/ or http://reddit.com/r/minimalism/ or http://reddit.com/r/simpleliving/ and http://reddit.com/r/frugal/ for advice and tips, it will seriously change your life for the better.

WRA782

Good luck in finding a store that values its employees. After all retailing is a tough and hard business.

SignalMaintainer

They are out there, but few and far between these days. That said, I do not mind driving a bit further, or paying a bit more at an establishment that truly values its employees.

Mad Mike

Mr.Rogall, I have been shopping at Orchard Market for a number of years and spend an average of $150 a week. You have seen my last dollar as I will be taking my business elsewhere. I was shocked to read what you are paying your employees and you should be ashamed! there is not one person in your stores that should be making less than $10 an hour. Until I read that you have given your employees a raise my $8000 I spend a year at your store are gone. I would encourage all other shoppers in the area to also shop elsewhere

Allendi

As a former employee of Orchard market, I just have to ask where do you think you're going to shop that pays its employees better?? That was a joke, right? Minimum wage is typical for any sort of retail..Meijers, Walmart, Leppinks..even stores at the mall all start cashiers/baggers out at minimum and then if they employee has the aptitude to move up to a better position they promote from within. You are pretty much going to have to boycott EVERY retail establishment if you want an entry level cashier making $10 an hour. The retail business is about making pennies wherever you can. The profit margin on grocery is a mere 25%!! I remember people bellyaching all the time about how much higher in price everything was, and the fact of the matter is...it HAS to be. Small stores like Leppinks and Orchard Markets CANNOT get the bulk quantity discounts that the big box retailers can. Oftentimes our wholesale cost was more than Meijer or Walmart retailed it for! They are not owned by some big corporation...they're owned by a local man...(NOT Mr Rogalla!). If you want to kill the little guy, go ahead and stop shopping at Orchard Market, Leppinks, or any of the smaller grocery stores. You'll always have Walmart to fall back on...who not only pay minimum but treat their employees like poop. Orchard Markets didn't pay a ton...but they were a great place to work. All of these comments are from people who do not understand how the business works. Take your gripes to Meijer and the big box guys...the little guys are barely surviving as it is.

rukidding

Brittany agreed to work for the wages she is receiving, nothing more need be said about that.

Orchard Market exists in spite of its ridiculous pricing! Obviously enough people like “Signal” shop there regularly which allows them to stay in business. “Signal”, you’re just attempting to brag with your wage comparison; the only people that care about your wage are you and the people who pay it. And, I wouldn’t be bragging about my wage even at four times what Brittany makes.

“Bunny”, your diploma from a private school is NOT equivalent to a college degree; not even from a community college. Your grammar and sentence structure is that of an average eighth grader; read what you compose prior to posting.

Alright then; carry on!

Wingmaster

So lets see here, the young lady in this article is 23 yrs. old, and post grad. She probably has been at the job less than 2 years which would make her entry level and my guess is the scale she is being paid at will go up to $12 or so an hour.

Does anybody have any concern that the young lady cannot get a job in her chosen field because the job market stinks?

What do you think an entry level cashier will make at a competitor? Don't you realize companies probably compare wage scales so they are all roughly paying the same.

If you really want to show you care how about challenging what the poor young lady had to pay for a useless degree that she can't get a job with!

rukidding

Mike, most people in the area don't shop at Orchard Market unless they have no alternative; their prices are 50% higher than the same item at Meijer, D & W, or Wal-Mart. I guess I should stay on topic though as opposed to talking about the exorbitant prices at Orchard Market; everybody got that part yet? Mike, the other stores you plan to frequent pay their employees about the same, a little more in some instances, but most are in the same general category. If you plan to boycott business’ that don’t pay their employees well, you will soon be joining the ranks of the “hunter-gatherer”.

gordbzz231

well, i rather work at a local grocery store that is locally owned than walmarts or meijers, those two chain stores treat their employees pretty bad, minimum wage and part time with no benefits,not to often they will hire local people, they bring people from other stores like muskegon and holland to fill positions, in all, wages are far below what it takes to make ends meet, i too have worked two jobs for many years,it never ends, horray for the one,s that can make three times the minimum wage, good job,

BTL2A

Meijer is a local chain. They are privately owned and have always been based out of Grand Rapids.

I worked there for my first job at 16 as a bag boy and I made slightly more than minimum wage... However at least back then all full time employers received insurance, vacation and were in a pension. Not sure where you got your facts from.

rukidding

Hey Wing, lets not make general statements about the cost of education; there are many people who are pleased with the "value" they received from their studies. I'm sure "Bunny" is glad she didn't spend money on a worthless college education; she got the equivalent from her extremely esteemed private high school.

4Daisies

The minimum wage for servers (waitresses/ waiters) is $2.65. I wonder why that never bothers anyone and doesn't increase when minimum wage does.

Vikkinmi

I agree with you 4Daisies!

BTL2A

Waiters and waitresses get tips..if they don't make enough tips to get them to minimum wage than the restaurant has to pay te difference to get them there.

So all waiters and waitresses are getting at least minimum wage...I really dot see the issue with their base pay being that rate.

Vikkinmi

I think the majority of people making minimum wage are (or should be)students and retirees. We can't keep raising the minimum wage just because some people are trying to make a living on it? All the local businees will have to fork over that extra cost and pay more in employer taxes, they'll eventually have to raise their prices, which will lead to people complaining (again) that they can't pay their bills on minimum wage, which brings us back to raising minimum wage! It's a never ending story. We are already above the federal minimum wage; I say leave it alone! Raising minimum wage isn't the answer. Why don't we try helping only those who need it, by creating different ways they can get a higher education. For example, free childcare or rides back and forth to college for a certain age bracket. Can't our government come up with a better solution than giving my 19 year old son ten dollars an hour?

4Daisies

Well said.

And it will be a bummer for the employees who have finally worked their way to earning $9-$10/hour after years of hard work.

gordbzz231

yes, in the last couple of years miejers and walmarts have resorted to part time, that way they can get away from paying benefits and overtime, im one of those people that have worked years to get wages i get, then they hire young one,s to come in, making more that me, that sucks, anyway, that's life

dyankee

Biped, Your critical comment of "that fancy private school" in your demonization of Bunnylou's post, should be written as "your" fancy private school. In addition, if, I may, your blog name should be capitalized, as well....the irony of proper grammar.

Perhaps, yourself and Rukidding, whom is also struggling with capitalization and semicolon challenges, can get together over a cappuccino at Starbucks, combine your educated brilliance and indeed, clean up what you both compose before posting.

Bunnylou's message and comments ought not be ridiculed because of her written delivery in an informal setting. Remarkably, her message is far more accurrate than both your diatribes.

May I remind you both, "that" most of our Founding Fathers did not hold degrees, but all owned firearms and still collectively authored one of the most profound documents for human freedom and the pursuit of happiness ever known to mankind.

Bill Clinton(Yale) Barack Obama(Harvard) George Bush(Yale & Harvard)and look where these 3 idiots have taken us. I think most of us are sick to our stomach with our olargarchic means of recent American leadership. Perhaps, it's time for an uneducated commonsense, Bill of Rights loving American with adequate grammar capabilities to take the wheel.

Lanivan

d - Not to get off on a tangent, I'd like to reply to your comment re: our Founding Fathers. Actually, 30 were college graduates, which was quite an accomplishment back then. In order to get into college, students had to be able to speak, think, and read in Latin and Greek. Harvard required students to translate the Old & New Testaments from the original Hebrew and Greek into Latin. The Fathers really were brilliant - T. Jefferson was only 33 when he drafted the Declaration of Independence.

I don't think any of our modern day presidents are quite that smart....except Obama, of course! ;>

Wingmaster

LOL, Lan you make a post I can agree with then you put that last line in there. What the heck are you spiking your koolaid with?

Lanivan

It begins with B and ends with V

Wingmaster

Blue UV made in America. Huh, I figured you would prefer a wodka from mother Russia, something like Stolichnaya. Either way ya need to pull back a wee bit as its clouding your normally perrrrfect view on the world.

Lanivan

Those darn keys keep moving around....I meant to type "a 3-letter word that begins with i and ends with e". Otherwise, I have no idea what you are talking about.

Vladtheimp

Re: Your last sentence - prove it!

Lanivan

The proof is in the pudding. Since any evidence I should offer would scorch your little sensibilities, stir up your hostilities, and cause you to jump rump first on your assertions from the pan into the fire, I will refrain and instead sip on my -- proof kool-aid.

Vladtheimp

Let me clarify what I meant - prove lord Obama graduated from college and Harvard, with transcripts, grades, those things asked of former presidents by the media and disclosed one way or another.

Lanivan

Really, Vlad? We're now reduced to the Mardi Gras rally cry of .."Show me your....college transcripts!".

The Founding Fathers would not approve, not to mention your former Latin teachers....

I'm sure there must be something on YouTube.......

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