Area businesses, employees react to MN minimum wage raise

(ABC 6 News) – Beginning Jan. 1st, Minn. is set to raise the minimum wage by 2.5% to adjust for inflation.
However, not all employers agree that it is enough.

“An increase of 2.5-percent is not gonna help anybody. Minimum wage at eight dollars, nobody is going to work for eight dollars,” said owner of Cheap Charlie’s Diner, David Tran. “It’s far too low, you’re not going to be able to pay the rent with eight dollars an hour and I don’t think anyone in the state is working for that.”

At Cheap Charlie’s, employees are paid anywhere between $10-12 per hour, plus tips, that’s higher than the minimum wage and Tran says even with those rates, retaining employees is extremely difficult.
The current small employer minimum wage is $8.42 and starting next year, it will increase 21 cents to $8.63.

For large employers, bringing in more than $500,000 or more per year, minimum wage will increase by 26 cents, to $10.59.

“Having low wages in this day and age you can’t live, you can’t pay your bills. Especially with the price of gas and groceries going up they need to raise it,” said Kristina Kahn, a waitress at Cheap Charlies. “You can’t even afford to get to work on that kind of money.”

Others say, small businesses cannot afford to take another hit.

“It’s going to set a precedence that everywhere else they’re gonna have to raise that and employees will pick and choose where they want to go,” said co-owner of Roasted Bliss Coffee and Bakery, Ali Johnson.

Johnson pays her employees $9 because she wants good workers, but she cannot afford to pay anymore.

“If we can pay a little bit better, yes we attract those individuals. At the same time, it still hurts us. We’ve had to dip into our own personal savings and checking account just to pay employee payroll,” Johnson added.

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