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Forcing Artificial Wages

A classic example of the pitfalls of poorly thought out legislation like Santa Fe’s “living wage” ordinance:

[Jeff Vander Wolk] said Sage Inn’s employee rolls have been as low as 12 and only once this summer reached 25 – the threshold for qualifying for the local minimum-wage ordinance.

If the [profit sharing] system were instituted at Sage Inn, Vander Wolk said, all of its employees soon could be making more than the local minimum wage. But he acknowledged bonuses would be contingent on Sage Inn turning a profit. Currently, he said, Sage Inn runs a 27-percent occupancy and is “losing their shirt.”

Responding to Vander Wolk, Carol Oppenheimer of the Living Wage Network commended the Inn of the Governors for paying more than minimum wage and said she supports profit sharing. But she said Sage Inn should have provided a clear translation of the proposal to its Spanish-speaking employees . She also said people told her that Inn of the Governors housekeepers are working sideby-side with Sage Inn housekeepers .

Let’s review… numbers of employees fluctuate with seasonal changes. Instead of laying off employees, management allows them to enter gainful employment at another establishment. However, due to the misguided ordinance in place, confusion and unneccesary tension between staff and management occurs.

The conclusion:

  1. The requirements of the ordinance actually make it more attractive to layoff employees rather than keep them working.
  2. The ordinance encourages paying the employees the minimum rather than institute profit sharing where they could potentially make more than the minimum.

Folks, this is reality. If a company doesn’t make money, there is no entitlement to any particular wage. The only job that guarantees pay without profit is a government job.