A new national survey conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by Amazon suggests that a majority of Americans support an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
According to Ipsos, "Eight in ten Americans (80%) say the federal minimum wage is too low. This consensus was seen across all genders, generations, education levels, races, income levels, and regions of the country.
"Among those surveyed who hold an opinion on the federal minimum wage, two-thirds support increasing it to $15 per hour. Even when including undecided respondents on the matter, more than half (56%) support a $15 per hour minimum wage.
"The majority of Americans also believe raising the minimum wage would have a positive impact on employees in general (70%), the country (55%), their community (54%), and the economy (54%)."
Ipsos goes on: "About two in five hourly, temporary, or seasonal employees say they make less than $15 an hour (37%). Those who make less than $15 an hour are significantly less likely to say they can afford basic human needs such as shopping for groceries, paying for prescription drugs, or a doctor’s visit. An unexpected event can financially derail them, and they are significantly less likely to be satisfied with all aspects of their life compared to those who earn $15 or more or are salaried employees."
The story makes the point that "in 2018, Amazon raised its starting wage for all U.S. employees to at least $15 an hour."
The company says that "when compared to politicians and policymakers (73%), advocacy groups (69%) and the media (51%), more Americans (80%) think large employers should play a role in raising the federal minimum wage.
"Amazon’s 2018 decision to increase starting wages to at least $15 an hour - for all full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees - immediately drove a positive impact. The increase helped Amazon employees purchase cars, pay for home repairs and college tuition, and build their savings."
- KC's View:
Commissioning this survey is a little self-serving, since not only is Amazon already doing it, but it can afford to do it. Forcing much smaller competitors with far fewer resources to do the same could have the effect of putting them in a very difficult, potentially untenable position.
I do think that $7.25 an hour is absurd anywhere in America, but I'm more intrigued by an increase that might go to $11 or $12 an hour, and then maybe index future increases to things like consume prices and maybe other relevant statistics.
Let's face it - there are small businesses in some parts of America where a $15/hour mandate would put them out of business or force them to cut back on the number of employees they hire. As a country, we have to be cognizant of those situations even as we try to establish minimums that are connected to workers' realities. (And let's not have the specious arguments about how, if we're going to go to $15 an hour, why not go to $50 an hour … those are silly and irrelevant discussion points, and the people who advance them know it.)