Minimum wage is not a fair wage | News, Sports, Jobs

January 15, 2022

Montana Economy

Comments Off on Minimum wage is not a fair wage | News, Sports, Jobs


Landis Larson

West Fargo

This week, some of the lowest paid workers in the Midwest will see their next salary increase, but not here in North Dakota. Montana, Minnesota, and South Dakota all have inflation-indexed minimum wage laws, which means that when inflation rises, the minimum wage also rises. Minimum wage workers will now receive $9.20 in MT, $9.95 in SD and $10.33 in MN. ND’s minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 for fourteen years due to legislative inaction.

Some say “There are no jobs in North Dakota that pay minimum wage.” If so, why do such powerful interests still oppose raising it? There are quite a few people working for minimum or near minimum wage in our state. Many people in the service industry even work for an hourly wage below the minimum wage of $4.86 per hour.

Others protest “The cost of goods and services will increase.” If no one is paying minimum wage, what are you worried about? In fact, in study after study, minimum wage increases have done the exact opposite; no tangible increase in the cost of goods and services. Instead, more money in workers’ pockets means more spending in the local economy.

And there’s always the boasting naysayer, “It’s because the cost of living in ND is lower.” No it is not. The cost of living in ND, MN and SD is about as close to the national average as you can get.

All workers should be paid a fair wage for their work. In 2022, $7.25 is not a fair wage and should be increased. Also, if I’m wrong and there are no minimum wage jobs in ND, what’s the harm?

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