The following letter to the editor appeared in the Boston Herald's January 22nd print edition. It was prepared in response to a previously published Herald Op-Ed discussing the inherent flaws of the "Fight for $15" campaign. In addition to the general concerns identified in the Op-Ed, the LTE shines a light on two major outliers in Massachusetts wage law which would result in additional costs to the reatil industry in the event a $15 minimum wage proposal proved successful.

$15 mandate goes too far

The Herald is correct in saying that “the ‘Fight for 15’ campaign is flawed” (“Wage protest on radar,” Jan. 19). Presented as a grassroots social movement, this union-led campaign is designed to accomplish through one-size-fits-all legislation what its leaders could not accomplish at the negotiation table. This approach ignores the negative economic impact to small employers — our primary engine for new job growth — who will struggle to afford new labor costs. The result will be fewer job opportunities for the very workers the campaign claims to support.

Already, Massachusetts is one of two states that requires retailers to pay time-and-a half-wages on Sunday and one of 11 states without some form of teen wage. If successful, the Sunday minimum for a 16-year-old bagging groceries would be $22.50 while New Hampshire remains at $7.25. An increase of this magnitude makes it impossible for our businesses to remain competitive with out-of-state and online companies without reducing labor spending.

Unions have every right to fight for an increase through labor negotiations, but imposing costly mandates on all Massachusetts employers regardless of the economic impact is simply bad public policy.

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