NELP finds that “two-thirds of low-wage workers are employed by companies with over 100 employees.” (Captain Obvious rejoices!)
A report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) has been making the electronic rounds big-time this week. NELP finds that large, highly profitable corporations mostly employ low-wage workers in America. Seems like stating the obvious, but every awful truth needs some science behind it, right?
The report is lending (even more) credence to the argument that it is time for a raise in the federal minimum wage.
Apparently, popular belief is that low-wage workers are often employed by small, mom-n-pop stores which can’t afford a raise in the federal minimum wage. This makes me go “hmmmmm” to say the least. NELP felt the same and found that nearly two-thirds of low-wage workers are employed by companies with over 100 employees. What’s worse is that these mega-companies have been seemingly unscathed by the recession, are posting record profits, but still hammer workers with the minimum wage:
Of the 50 largest employers of low-wage workers, more than 90 percent were profitable last year, and three-quarters of them are enjoying greater revenues than they did before the recession, the authors note, suggesting that such corporations could withstand a raise in the minimum wage.
During the 2008 campaign, President Obama pledged to increase the minimum wage to $9.50 by the end of 2011 yet currently only Iowa’s Tom Harkin and Illinois’s Jessie Jackson, Jr. have bills in motion to increase the federal standard. According to NELP, if the minimum wage had remained pegged to inflation it would currently sit at nearly $10 an hour. Harkin’s bill proposes a raise to $9.80 while Jackson, Jr.’s evens it out at $10.
Most large employers of low-wage workers “are earning profits above their pre‐recession levels, and are sharing those profits generously with their top executives and shareholders,” the report states. “Taken together, these indicators show that the nation’s top low‐wage employers can readily afford to pay for a higher minimum wage for their lowest‐paid employees.”
“Contrary to what critics sometimes suggest, the majority of the impact of any increase in the minimum wage will therefore be felt by large companies and corporations rather than small mom‐and‐pop establishments,” the report states.