Minimum wage pay increase already impacting local workforce

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Wednesday, December 27, 2023
Minimum wage and fast food restaurant pay increase already impacting local workforce
In less than a week, the minimum wage in California will go up by 50 cents to $16 an hour.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- In less than a week, the minimum wage in California will go up by 50 cents to $16 an hour.

By April 1 2024, fast food restaurants with 60 locations or more by law will have to pay $20 an hour.

Economics professors are estimating this could impact customers in many ways.

"You might have longer lines, you might have dirtier, dirty restaurants. There is even a study from Seattle that when they raised the minimum wage, hygiene violations increased, but consumer prices are also one potential route," says David Neumark, a UIC Economics Professor.

In addition, some employers may choose to cut back in more ways than one.

"Some estimates suggest that we could have up to 50,000 jobs lost in the state of California," explains David Smith, a professor at Pepperdine University.

This has already proven true for one South Valley Pizza Hut location.

Just last week, their delivery drivers received a letter of separation.

Marvin William Lopez Rangel will be laid off due to the minimum wage going up.

Marvin has been a driver for five years and is one of the many who will be laid off.

He believes it's due to the wage increase.

Thankfully, he has another job to rely on, but he says he's concerned for his colleagues who may no longer have the means to feed their families.

"I hope that businesses, and especially the Central Valley, can still keep their people employed because, at the end of the day, the money that we earn goes back into the community and goes back into the businesses in the Valley," says Marvin.

Action News contacted Pizza Hut, and they mentioned their chains are locally owned and operated and have been made aware of the cutbacks.

Layoffs are expected to start in the middle of February.

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