As if it already isn't impossible to work one's way through college, state Senate Republicans want to make it harder still by slashing the minimum wage for part-time jobs:
Senate Bill 5275 would establish a “training wage” equal to 75 percent of either the state or national minimum wage — whichever is higher — for the first 680 hours a new employee works. Minimum wage in the state is currently $9.19 per hour, meaning the training wage would be set at $6.89 per hour.
Hmm. Let's see now... 680 hours divided by a typical student half-time job of 20 hours a week equals 34 weeks of three-quarter pay... yeah that should pretty much cover the entire academic year. Then the student goes home for the summer, only to come back the next fall to start a new "training wage" part-time job all over again. Sweet!
The bill's sponsor, Senator Janéa Holmquist Newbry (R-Moses Lake) says this is all about helping teenagers get jobs, but really, it's about screwing minimum wage workers. Anybody who has ever worked a minimum wage job knows that these are the jobs with the highest turnover because both the work and the pay tend to suck. These are also the jobs that require the least amount of skills, and thus the least amount of "training." If that wasn't true, employers would pay more so as to cut down the costs of turnover. But they don't. Instead they want to pay less, because minimum wage workers are expendable.
So at the very best, this bill would mean $1,562.30 out of the pocket of each minimum wage worker, and into the pocket of their employer... every time they start a new minimum wage job.
Fortunately, this bill would have no hope of passing the Democratic controlled House. But that Senate Republicans are willing to kick up the shit storm that would come from messing with Washington's voter-approved minimum wage shows you just how profoundly anti-worker they really are.