Moving Minimum Wage to $15: What The CSRA Has To Say - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Moving Minimum Wage to $15: What The CSRA Has To Say

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Augusta, GA -

Monday is a national tribute to the contribution of workers but some continue to push for higher wages.

Fast food workers across the country conducted strikes and walkouts in nearly 60 cities last Thursday. They're pushing for unionization and an hourly pay of $15 from the current federal minimum $7.25.

Even though the protests are happening in larger cities, if the federal minimum wage were to rise, that would, of course, change business here at home.

Some people in the CSRA say that the proposed hike could mean big trouble for small businesses - and for employees.

That's easy enough to understand for employers, but what about employees: How could taking home a minimum of $30,000 per year be a bad thing?

Some people say, if it means taking home nothing due to cutbacks and layoffs.

"If you want a bigger check, you need to work for it," Holly Amans says.  "Nothing is handed to you, and you shouldn't expect it."

With that strong statement, some people may say Amans sounds like a tough boss.  Here's the thing, she isn't the boss, but she has worked her way up from the bottom:

"I knew what I was coming into," she says, "I knew I had to work hard if I wanted to make more."

And she did.

"Entry is entry," Holly's boss, the owner of Somewhere In Augusta, Cindy Fiske says. "You can't make what people who have been doing it for years are making.  You start up frying and work your way up and get more money as you work your way up."

Holly says, in her opinion, those who are taking orders for fast food - shouldn't be making orders for that kind of wage hike.

"I don't think you should be getting paid $15 an hour to take food orders, at entry level.  The harder you work, you're going to move up, you're going to get paid more."

Other workers from across the country say it doesn't always work out that way:

"I'm a hardworking girl," striker Jussara Dos Santos says. "I've been working there a long time and $8.75 is not enough."

Holly's boss says she'd be concerned for her long-term employees if she did have to pay $15 per hour to every employee.

"I have a responsibility to my employees to employ them and give them jobs and have them have a living that they can take that money home and pay their bills," Fiske says.  "If that happened, I can't guarantee we'd even be here, you could have employees that are laid off and don't have jobs."

And for the employees who would still have jobs, she says they'd be more than earning every penny.

"Then they're going to have to cook on the line, they're going to have to wash dishes, they're going to have to prep," she says.

Workers who are pushing for the wage hike say not all employers are as understanding as Fiske, so there needs to be a much higher federal minimum wage to ensure that they can support their families.

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