The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce (DSCC) is speaking out against the process used by House lawmakers to pass legislation to raise the state's minimum wage, a measure they say artificially alters the labor market and negatively impacts certain workers and businesses.
On the last night of session, the Delaware House of Representatives held a late night, 3:30 a.m. vote to increase Delaware’s minimum wage twice by $.50 over the next year, a "dramatic departure" from the usual process that is normally reserved for non-controversial bills, according to DSCC.
DSCC said the general public, both opponents and supporters of a minimum wage increase, were unable to have their voices heard and that the process shouldn't have been undertaken in the wee hours of the morning.
James Dechene, senior vice president of government relations for DSCC, said artificially altering the labor market in such way will have a negative impact on first time workers and retirees.
"This has a direct impact on first time workers, those who are without skills, teenagers looking for their first job," he said. "This is going to impact retirees who are on fixed incomes because the price of goods is going to go up once you have your labor prices impacted artificially."
Dechene said it will also impact other workers "who are maybe slightly higher than that, or even a dollar higher than that, and feel as though they've had their time on the job, received some raises along the way, and want to be able to get paid more to. It has a ripple effect up the wage chain."
“It’s unfortunate that businesses will have to decide how to cut additional costs to pay for this added payroll expense. It is imperative that people working full time for minimum wage add to their education and outfit themselves with skills that meet workforce needs in order to improve their personal or family situation,” said DSCC President Michael Quaranta.
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