Kudos to George Bamberg [Mailbag, July 1] for taking issue with Peter Mooney's June 10, Page 17 Perspective (``Economist defends minimum wage hike''). The ability of America's business to survive in a world economy necessitates our ability to turn out widgets or services at competitive costs. Small companies which do not produce the same product or service over and over again cannot afford to obtain/maintain equipment which would automate the same, and so must rely on manual labor.
Sometimes that cheap labor turns out to be expensive labor because of a lack of productivity. Those workers who are productive will be rewarded to maintain them.
Many of these jobs cannot support higher wages unless the worker can learn and increase his or her worth to the company.
An alternative to the recently passed minimum wage laws could have been to stage the minimum wage to increase 25 cents an hour for every three months of continuous work, using the past minimum wage as a base.
This schedule would have at least lessened the financial impact of training new employees and given the employees assured increases if they performed satisfactorily.
A bigger issue, which no one will tackle, is the company that cannot accommodate its employees for more work because of overtime laws.
These employees are forced to seek part-time jobs elsewhere that rob them of quality time with their families (extra commuting time).
Commuting also adds to pollution emissions.
It would seem that if a company wants someone to come in and perform extra work, time-and-a-half is appropriate.
But if an employee is looking for extra work, he or she should be able to make such an arrangement with the employer.
That kind of arrangement should be a freedom we should all be able to enjoy.