Job Creators Network President Alfredo Ortiz said during a press conference on Wednesday that they have “grave concern” over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) bill to establish a $15 per hour minimum wage, suggesting that it would crush small businesses and cut entry-level jobs for many Americans.
Sen. Sanders, along with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), introduced the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 and index the minimum wage to median wage growth.
Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday:
Just a few short years ago, we were told that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour was ‘radical.’ But a grassroots movement of millions of workers throughout this country refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. It is not a radical idea to say a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it. The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It must be increased to a living wage of $15 an hour.
The Senate version has the backing of 31 Democrat senators, while the House version has 181 lawmakers co-sponsoring the bill, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Ortiz said that he and his organization have “grave concern” over what Sander’s bill will do to small businesses.
The Job Creators Network executive said that most hourly workers already make more than the minimum wage, making Sanders’ legislation unnecessary.
If you look at hourly wages as a whole, there are about 80 million hourly workers in the United States, there are only 221,000 of that population over the age of 25 making the federal minimum wage. That’s roughly three-tenths of one percent of that overall population. Ninety-nine percent of the hourly population make more than the federal minimum wage and even if you look at the subset amongst teenagers as well. There are about 4.6 million hourly workers aged 16-19 in the workforce and only 172,000 actually make the federal minimum wage so that’s just under four percent.
So again, to put it into context just under 96 percent of teenagers make over the federal minimum wage.
Ortiz said during a press release this week that a University of Washington study found that in Seattle, which established a $15 minimum wage, workers’ hourly salary was lowered by $125 per month.
“Employers who can’t absorb the additional labor cost have no choice but to reduce hours for employees,” said Ortiz. “It was very predictable, and the same thing will happen on a national scale if this bill passes.”
Susan Kochevar, the owner of 88 Drive-In Theatre in Commerce City, Colorado, said that Sander’s minimum wage bill will devastate small businesses.
“Sen. Sanders’ bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 will significantly raise labor costs,” Kochevar said.
Meanwhile, wages have risen during President Donald Trump’s administration at the fastest rate since 2008.