Workers Thrilled With Minimum Wage Hike

Boston University students, who work during the school year, are elated that the state will raise its minimum wage from $11 to $15 during the next five years, saying it will help them cope with the high cost of living around town.

Bill Eugene, NECIR Summer Journalism, Student at Milton Academy

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Boston University students, who work during the school year, are elated that the state will raise its minimum wage from $11 to $15 during the next five years, saying it will help them cope with the high cost of living around town.

“I just know too many people who have degrees that can barely afford rent,” said Chine, a 23-year-old master’s student at Boston University.

“People can’t afford to live.””

— Chine, Master Student at Boston University

But she worries that the wage hike won’t help the cost of living all that much, fearing that landlords will use the new law as  an excuse to raise rents. “People [will] think they can charge more for services,” said Chine, whose rent skyrocketed by $300 in recent years.

Many small business owners are concerned that the wage increase could hurt their companies, with some fears that they may have to raise prices, cut employee hours, or even close their doors.

“Small businesses owners definitely feel like they are under siege,” Christopher Carlozzi, the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, told the Boston Globe. “It’s inhibiting their ability to expand their business; it’s really impacting their ability to create new jobs.”

While many small business owners worry that they might lose money with the minimum wage increase, some large companies think it could help their company. BU’s local Starbucks manager, though, applauds the bill. Nasi Baruksiadi says the legislation could attract more students to work at her coffee shop. Students would be more interested in making $15 an hour than making $11, according to Baruksiadi. Since the Starbucks next to Warren Towers partners with Boston University, Baruksiadi believes that there will be enough money to pay students extra money without hurting Starbucks’ profits.

The bill, nicknamed “the Grand Bargain”, does a lot more than raise the hourly minimum wage by $1 a year until it reaches $15. It also creates an annual sales tax holiday beginning this summer and gets rid of time-and-a-half pay for Sunday and holiday workers. With Governor Charlie Baker signing the bill into law on June 28, he avoids many ballot measures that he believed  would hurt businesses more. The ballot measures would have given tipped employees more income and would have retained the time-and-a-half laws for those working on Sundays or holidays.