The rich love telling the poor that the poor are helpless so that the poor don't undercut them with lower salary and overhead requirements.
That Costco article randoma linked to is a fine example of a business that voluntarily pays their employees a good, competitive wage, no government force required. I imagine it took those companies a long time to develop the infrastructure required to be able to employ the number of workers they do.
If you think a small start-up business, being coerced through the governments monopoly on force to pay an entry-level worker a wage that's five dollars higher per hour than where the minimum sits currently (thanks government mandated inflation), then you have either: never worked at a small retail business, never worked retail period, never had even the slightest entrepreneurial leanings.
And as for unions, I'm fine with a union that's voluntary. Unfortunately the majority of unions in this country are not. Ironically, the origin of minimum-wage laws in this country were designed by the unions to restrict the ability of businesses to hire low-skill workers who might gladly work for lower wages in order to gain experience. Union members thus face less competition from workers who might threaten union jobs.
A 2004 study in the Journal of Human Resources by economists William Wascher, Mark Schweitzer and David Neumark determined that lower-wage union workers typically see a boost in employment and earned income following a mandated wage hike. Never mind the corresponding drop in jobs and earned income for nonunion minimum-wage workers. They may have been priced out of the jobs they need, but that is not the union's concern its members have landed higher wages and reduced competition for jobs.