Mind Your Business

Mind Your Business Week of July 2, 2014

Summer is here and everything seems to be going well in Cleveland, in 2014. In recent weeks, you’ve heard a lot about increasing the minimum wage across the United States to help families better to provide for their love ones. I know from traveling to other cities the cost to live is higher in some places like New York and California. But to know that everyone is making at least $10 an hour or higher is great news. California would increase the state’s minimum to $13 an hour by 2017, the highest state rate in the nation under a bill they passed recently by the Democratic-controlled state Senate. Seattle’s city council also jumped on the bandwagon and approved a $15 minimum not long ago, the highest of any big U.S. city and more than doubled the federal rate of $7.25. The one concern I have is for the state’s to mandate all jobs to act accordingly if an employee is already making $10 they should get a raise as well when the minimum wage goes up? The campaign for higher minimum wages started from people working in the fast food area and eventfully went on mini strikes last year to prove their point. Since then, the momentum in states and cities as President Barack Obama’s proposal for a $10.10 wage was fought against and held up. Thirty-four states are considering increases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chicago lawmakers introduced a bill this week to adopt a $15 minimum wage. But depending on the size of the company, the higher wages will kick in over a three- to seven-year period. Washington already has the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $9.32 an hour. This is good news if everything else is in-line, such as rent and living day to day expenses. In President Obama’s State Address, he spoke about the wage increase. “We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. That’s why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, nineteen states have chosen to bump theirs even higher,” said President Obama. Now in June Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation that will raise the minimum wage for workers to $11 over the next three years, making Massachusetts a leader in how much states pay their employees by the hour. This Black Governor seems to understand what it takes to survive in this economy. “Raising the minimum wage brings a little relief to the working poor, many of whom do jobs we could not live without and who recycle money right back into the economy,” said Patrick in a statement. “By signing this bill, we show the Nation that opportunity can and must be spread outward, not just upward. I thank the Legislature for their important work in reaching this milestone.” For years, many Blacks have hustled to make things happen just to keep their doors open. Insurance executive Charles Perry knows all too well what it takes to stay afloat. Pinkney Perry Insurance has worked hard with both businesses and churches. Perry’s business has been around for 50 years and this is good for a Black man, but even being semi retired, if you are in the room with him, he is still trying to sell insurance to you (smile). Supporting the Black business over the years has seemed to have faded. Keeping it in the family his sons Richard and Nick now operate and run the business out of downtown Cleveland. They continue to build on their father’s legacy. Pinkney and Perry Insurance came from a lot of hard work from these two great men Arnold R. Pinkney (deceased) and Charles Perry who met trying to sell each other an insurance policy. The fast food business is all about making money, Narlie Roberts (deceased) own a lot of McDonalds in the 80’s but believed in floor control. Meaning if you only had small money coming in, you better only have a small crew on the floor to save money. He believed in paying well and often rewarded you for doing a good job. Maybe not all small business can afford to do rewards, but sometimes just a pat on the pat or a smile to say thank you goes a long way. When you work for minimum wage already and all your supervisor can do is find everything wrong with what you do while they are doing nothing is no type of motivation for an employee. They fight for higher wages will continue to brew over the next couple of years and hopefully it will benefit workers who deserved a break today. Ohio’s minimum wage is $7.95 and hopefully someone will help move this to a higher wage without us having to pay $8 for a Big Mac. Enjoy your summer and remember to mind your business.

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Write Wade at the Call & Post, 11800 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44120, or e-mail him at jwade@call-post.com. Comments and questions are welcome but, because of the volume of mail, personal responses are not always possible. Please note that comments or questions may be used in a future column.