Study: Majority want minimum wage increased

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Even though a minimum wage increase was removed from the most recent COVID relief package, a new study from Amazon and market research firm IPSOS not surprisingly shows a majority of Americans think the wage should be increased, which hasn’t happened since 2009.

From the pandemic to natural disasters, people are hurting, including financially, leading to a renewed push to raise the minimum wage.

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“Many people who currently make less than 15 would have a hard time scraping together five hundred dollars for an unexpected expense. That they sometimes struggle to afford basic household needs like groceries or healthcare,” IPSOS Vice President Chris Jackson said.

The Amazon and IPSOS study polled more than 6,000 Americans.  It showed raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour.

“There’s a clear majority of Americans who believe it should be increased to fifteen dollars an hour specifically that people think that would really help communities and employees and help supercharge the recovery,” Jackson said.

Amazon hopes other businesses will see this study and raise worker pay, just like it did three years ago to $15 an hour.

“It’s a combination of doing what’s right for workers and also helping the economy,” Amazon’s Public Policy Director Jennie Massey said.

She said Amazon’s initial impact was on recruitment, retention, and morale, “With the benefit of time, we’ve been able to see the long-term economic impact on workers in the communities and we hear anecdotes from workers that they now have the flexibility to buy cars, to pay for tuition, to make investments and improvements in their home.  So we’re seeing that long-term economic stability,” Massey said.

Some companies are already following suit, for example, Charter Communications pays its employees $18 an hour and it says it plans to raise that minimum wage to $20 by 2022.

Raising the federal minimum wage has its critics who say it would cost some people their jobs and the price of goods and services would go up but even some critics say it needs to be raised, just not to $15 an hour.