While left wing activists scream about the desperate need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Target employees have gotten a taste of what it’s like when a company does just that.
As they recently told by CNN, their lives are worse off than before. They are being paid more per hour, but are earning less than before as Target has drastically cut their hours. To make matters worse, many of these same workers are no longer being given full-time employment, which means some are losing their health insurance and other benefits.
The stories from Target’s employees are truly heartbreaking. One woman said that she had no idea how she would pay her bills or buy food now that Target has moved her from being a full-time employee to one that only works about 20 hours a week. Another woman said she was forced to find other work as Target cut her hours from 35 to 40 a week to as little as 15 a week, leaving her unable to pay for her daughter’s daycare. The move came even though this woman was a stellar worker, and happened right before she was able to qualify for medical benefits. One veteran worker told CNN that he is currently at the cut-off point to qualify for health benefits.
Target had several excuses to offer about the current treatment of its workers now that the company is offering a $15 per hour minimum wage. However, the company spokesperson declined to provide numbers to support Target’s talking points. Furthermore, Target is doing well financially. In fact, the company is hiring new employees even as those who currently work there are getting their hours cut. At the same time, as one former store director noted, the fact that Target is adding self-checkout lanes to the store has played a significant role in the reduction of work hours.
It’s not hard to see the connection given the fact that self-checkout lanes do not require minimum wage pay, overtime pay, health benefits and the like. Numerous stores are adding them and/or using other automated features to cut costs. The only difference between these companies and Target is that Target has been promoting itself as a “worker-friendly” environment with a $15 an hour minimum wage.
Experts have warned for years that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would have a drastic, negative impact on the very people that a higher minimum wage is meant to help. However, progressives clearly haven’t been interested in reality. Sadly, as Target’s current situation shows, even businesses that voluntarily raise the minimum wage to generate good publicity will take other measures to keep profits high.
The effect of a nation-wide minimum wage hike will be even worse for companies that, unlike Target, have tight profit margins. A nationally-mandated $15 an hour minimum wage will cause companies to flock to automation. Companies will let go of full-time employees and look for contractors who don’t require high pay along with benefits. Others will go out of business, thus raising unemployment levels.