Raising the Minimum Wage: The Pros and Cons

New legislation has been passed in New York, Washington, and California among others raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. While I do feel that those who work part-time jobs should be paid a fair wage depending on the type of work performed, I also believe that $15 is simply too much of a wage for the part-time positions considered under this legislation.
One job sector that has achieved a higher minimum wage is the fast food service industry. Those who work in this industry do not perform highly skilled work and at times only possess a high school diploma. Why should someone who works at McDonalds be paid more than someone who provides skilled labor perhaps for a part-time office position or a position at a retail store?
From my personal experience I can attest that I have office experience from working at a nonprofit organization for 1.5 years and over seven years of experience working at a major department store, Kohls. I was paid $10 an hour at my nonprofit position which in hindsight was a very low rate of pay but allowed me to attain office skills that I can translate to my next office position. This was a job that required a college degree and involved appearing at medical conferences to publicize the work of the foundation.
In comparison I have worked in the same department at my retail job for over six years. This is not a job that you need a lot of skill to perform but does necessitate some social finesse to successfully engage with customers on a regular basis. I am paid only a little bit above minimum wage but receive annual raises that range between 20-25 cents. I have coworkers who have worked at this store since it opened fifteen years ago and some frequently complain about their rate of pay. My thoughts on these complaints are that you should appreciate the job that you have or leave if you’re not satisfied with working there.
Do I believe that we need to raise the minimum wage? I can honestly say that I do believe that it could help economically vulnerable members of the general population such as college students working to pay their way through school, parents working so they can put food on the table, and retirees trying to earn extra money to supplement what they receive from pensions and Social Security. However, I feel that a raise in the minimum wage should not specifically be targeted to one particular industry but should instead be targeted to all industries.


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