WALMART AND THE MINIMUM WAGE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. WalMart will just pass this cost along to us, won’t they? Won’t they just raise their prices?
A. No, this is a myth. A study last year showed that even if Walmart applied a $12 an hour minimum wage to all of its hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide, and passed along 100% of the cost to its customers, that the price rise would be insignificant.
Q. If a $12.00 an hour minimum wage is so good for the economy, why don’t we just make it $50.00 an hour?
A. First of all, we are not asking for $50.00 an hour, your question is a red herring. Secondly, what we say, and what the research has proved, is that a modest rise in the minimum wage produces a modest gain in the local economy, regardless of the minimum wage in surrounding regions.
Q. Won’t Walmart just lay off a few employees to pay for this? People will lose their jobs.
A. No. Walmart prides itself on being a lean, low-cost operation. They are already running at minimum staff levels. They are already understaffing, underpaying and overworking their employees.
Q. Won’t this just drive the larger employers out of Eureka?
A. No. Eureka is the economic, political and population center of Humboldt County and the surrounding region. Thousands of workers commute into Eureka every working day. But if this unlikely effect starts to occur we will work to extend this minimum wage protection to all the workers of Humboldt County.
Q. How would this benefit local small businesses?
A. Local businesses with 25 employees or fewer will be exempt from this ordinance. On the other hand a significant portion of their customers will have a few thousand dollars more to spend locally every year.
Q. Isn’t this just more welfare?
A. No. The benefits of a higher minimum wage go to people who are workers, obviously.
Q. How do higher, fairer wages benefit the local community?
A. Higher wages paid to local workers circulate locally and grow the local economy. It is money that is not airlifted to Bentonville, Arkansas (and sucked out of our local economy forever) or spent on a multi-million dollar CEO salary somewhere else.
Q. How much cash would flow to the local economy under this ordinance?
A. If there are 1,000 local employees covered under this ordinance, then we estimate there will be at least $2.5 million annually pumped into the local economy through higher, fairer wages, and the multiplier effect will amplify the gain.
Q. Wouldn’t $12.00 an hour be the highest minimum wage in the United States?
A. Yes, but the Eureka Fair Wage Act will only apply to large businesses with the resources to support it. Minimum wage laws in other localities apply generally to all employers large and small or only to employers with government contracts. We think our approach makes more sense both socially and economically and more closely fits our common local Humboldt ethos.
Q. Don’t minimum wage laws result in higher unemployment? Employers will fire employees to cover the cost of paying higher wages, won’t they? Isn’t that an ironclad law of economics?
A. No. Human history is clear that periods of high employment coincide with periods of high wages. This was true 500 years ago, 1,000 years ago, and 2,000 years ago, as far back as civilization began. In the United States, workers real wages as a percentage of GDP are at a 70 year low, while real unemployment and corporate profits are at 70 year highs. The fact that there are millions of people seeking work and there are not enough jobs for them is a fault in the predatory capitalist economy that is unrelated to wages.
Defending the Community
Get Involved, Your Skillset is Needed!