AP NEWS

Marianne Erickson: Arizona’s minimum wage crisis

April 9, 2019

Editor: The Arizona State Senate bill that would allow employers to pay people under the age of 22 less than the AZ voter-approved minimum wage is a disaster for all workers, particularly returning veterans. This legislation is additional proof that Republicans in the Arizona State Senate, as well as the House of Representatives are ignorant about the demography of the constituents they are pledged to serve. Under this bill, business owners that employ part-time workers would be given a VERY strong incentive to select under age 22 workers earning as little as $7.25 per hour instead of older workers who earn the minimum wage of $11. Remember your last trip to the grocery store - most workers you saw were well over 22. According to the BLS current population survey, the AZ unemployment rate was 1.3% higher than the national average on Feb. 28, 2019, and it is not decreasing with the rates in other states. It is mostly the 22 years plus population that files for unemployment currently. Will this older population lose its part-time jobs if this legislation is passed? Also, consider this: There are many part-time workers under and above age 22 who work 2 part-time jobs just to make ends meet because employers limit hours in order to deny fringe benefits. Many work more than 40 hours per week. There are also MANY young workers who use their earnings to support families with children. Tell the Arizona Senate and House, “NO! We won’t let greed force more Arizonans of all ages further into poverty, especially those who work and get no health or other benefits from their employers.”

Marianne Erickson

Prescott Valley