Contract Glaziers Speak Out: How Will an Increase in Minimum Wage Affect Your Business?

Just more than one week ago the House of Representatives approved the first federal minimum wage increase in nearly ten years. The bill raises the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour over the next two years.

Some opponents of the increase have said it could have a negative effect on the economy, as well as small businesses. However, glass company representatives that spoke with USGNN on the topic all seemed optimistic.

Andy Morris, president of Canton Glass Inc., a commercial contract glazier Canton, Ohio, says he thinks a minimum wage increase will defiantly be good for the economy.

"I think the more that goes into the market the more people spend," says Morris. And as far as hiring hourly employees, Morris says they hire summer help or students to work after school.

"We try to give them good direction in dealing with people [professionally]," Morris added.

Doug Steele, owner of Steel Glass & Mirror, a small glass business in Des Moines, Iowa, says he doesn't think changes in minimum wage will affect his business.

" I just have two employees," he says, "So I don't think it will affect us personally."

But as far as affecting the glazing industry across the board, he says there could be some impact, as it will be another cost increase that will have to be passed on.

Michael LeGault, president of Southern Glass Co., which does residential and commercial glazing in Mobile, Ala., says that whether a company finds itself affected by an increased minimum wage really all comes down to how big of an operation that company is.

"With smaller shops it's probably not that much of an issue; at our company, for example, we only hire one, maybe two, hourly employees, and we do hire employees with [little to no] experience and train them. Most other companies only want to hire those with lots of experience." He says that it's those large companies that have many hourly employees that are likely to be most affected.

As far as whether an increase in minimum wage will affect his current number of employees or future numbers, LeGault again says it's not likely since he hires only an occasional hourly worker. Again, though, he emphasizes that the companies that will be most affected are the larger ones.

LeGault adds that another issue to think about when it comes to wages, is the fact that many companies around the country are hiring undocumented immigrants to do hourly work.

"And in some cases they may not even be making minimum wage … there's a burden then that falls on those of us doing the right things," he says. "It puts a lot of stress on the economy and us taxpayers."

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