Opinions and comments from visitors to United Vision for Idaho's Soapbox.
These essays are presented in the order received, and unedited. Feel free to comment in the form below, or submit your own essay here.
I’d like to inform the public of sub minimum wage. You may know that in Idaho the minimum wage is $7.25. But, what you might not know is in Idaho, employees who earn tips are consistently paid $3.35 an hour before taxes. It doesn't end there. There are few protections for labor in the state of Idaho.
Imagine if you prepare yourself for work: purchase and press the uniform, prepare yourself to look your best, pay for childcare, drive a distance to work, arrive on time, and then be told that due to a regular, intentional practice of overstaffing, your shift is canceled or reduced. That's the regular uncertainty of employees in Idaho. Furthermore, Idaho’s wage law allows for zero breaks paid or unpaid; no daily overtime; and no minimum shift when scheduled. Typically, there are no useful benefits available; no medical, no dental, no vision, no retirement plan, etc. So, when the short shift or no shift occurs, the employee is carrying the responsibility to prepare for business operations.
Low income, likely below poverty level staffs are subsidizing the corporation. Would it be so hard for employers to guarantee scheduled hours of a four-hour minimum? Would it be so hard to pay tipped employees the standard minimum wage instead of the sub minimum wage?
National corporations come to Idaho and directly benefit by the sub minimum wage. I think you will find, menu prices in Idaho and Washington are the same at your favorite corporate restaurant chain while tipped employees in Washington are paid $11 per hour.
Does it make sense that public taxes converted to public assistance are paying for necessities instead of payroll? It is a fact that tipping is optional. It seems payroll is optional for those employers who choose to pay $3.35 an hour. Have you ever asked why does this waitress or service person not deserve to support him or herself? Can't we do better? Can working people enjoy a dignified life? The labor participation rate will be more compelling in a fair wage environment. Would you ask politicians to stand up for working people? Would you ask corporations to pay a livable, fair wage? Think about it… If you're underpaid or not paid at all, would you show up for work day after day? I believe in payroll above public assistance.
Thank you for contributing your voice, and invaluable perspectives to a thoughtful dialog, and having the important conversations. This is a space to offer respectful reflections, as we face uncomfortable truths at this most critical time, and offer insights about how we move forward. It is your voices that will allow us to become a movement capable of systemic change, and the one the people of Idaho have long deserved. Thank you for your contributions and all that you do!