Sunday, November 26, 2006

Loophole May Allow For Wage Reductions If Minimum Wage Increases

One dirty little secret is that businesses in some American states are allowed to pay as little as $2.00 an hour wages by classifying their workers as "waiters". This loophole allows for wages as low as $2.00 based on some premise that "tips" will pay the difference in salary. But this loophole really means that many food service workers are condemned to a very low wage lifestyle with little hope of ever achieving the American dream, and instead looking to public health programs and food stamps or public assistance programs to help these persons and their families to live.

One unfortunate fact is likely that many food service businesses will undermine any Democratic efforts in Congress to increase the minimum wage unless some provisions are in place not to move many food service workers into a "waiter" classification in order to reduce wages. And among Republicans such as John McCain, some are already lining up with business to keep wages low. McCain plays himself as a "mainstream" conservative, but sides with big business, supports increasing troops to Iraq, and voted against protecting Gay American from hate crimes.

Despite a Democratic majority in Congress, it will be interesting to see whether the big money restaurant and other lobby groups will allow the wages for the working classes' wages to increase or not. Whether a clear majority in Congress will honor the public will as in a number states, voters voted to increase the minimum wage, remains to be seen. The fight to increase the minimum wage will test the politicians vs. the big business lobby organizations and big corporate contributors and the public will for a minimum wage increase. Since 1997, Congress has raised it's own salary 9 times, but not once for the working class. This issue will test the soul of the new Congress.


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