Proposed raise to minimum wage could affect local businesses

The minimum wage would go from $11 to $15 an hour.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- A proposal to raise the minimum wage could end up on the 2018 ballot, and it could have an impact on local businesses.

Nearly a million workers in Massachusetts could be seeing bigger paychecks if the Raise Up Massachusetts Coalition gets their proposal on the 2018 ballot. They want to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.

We asked people in Springfield how raising labor costs could affect their businesses and got mixed reviews.

“The reality is people have to pay their bills”, says Brian Greene of Springfield. “You have to make it in life and 11 bucks an hour, 12 bucks an hour, 13 bucks an hour is just not going to cut it.”

“If you’re going into an entry level job and you’re gonna pay them $15 an hour, I would think it takes away some incentive to better yourself in life”, says Steven Henn of Holyoke.

The owner of Cafe Du Jour in Springfield, Khaled Saleh, told 22news that it’s hard to please customers who expect low prices when the labor costs keep rising.

Seattle, Washington already raised their minimum wage to $15 an hour. Labor attorney, John Gannon, told 22news that a study done there shows the higher wage was actually worse for employees.

“Employers had to cut labor. They had to cut staffing, reduce overtime, and they had to look into finding ways to cut wages”, he says.

A rising cost of labor could mean businesses place the burden on the consumer by raising their prices. The Retailers Association of Massachusetts told 22News that Massachusetts already has one of the highest minimum wages in the country at $11 an hour. They say higher labor costs puts Massachusetts profits at a disadvantage to other states and online retailers who pay their employees less.