The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Editorial: Minimum wage needs consistency across industries

Emma Goldman
Among other chains in California with over 60 locations nationwide, McDonald’s has raised its employees’ starting wages to $20 in accordance with AB 1228. While the bill can be celebrated as an accomplishment for fast-food workers, the industry specificity opens debate for delegating wages to certain jobs, and we should rather set a standard wage across all jobs.

With its implementation on April 1, California’s Assembly Bill 1228 raised fast-food workers’ minimum wages to $20 per hour, $4 higher than the state’s minimum wage of $16 per hour and $12.75 higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. 

The bill, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, came in response to labor unions’ complaints regarding their wages and working conditions.

The bill can certainly be celebrated as a victory for workers in the fast-food industry. With California ranking as the state with the third highest cost of living, based on data like food, shelter, education, energy, and more, higher wages amidst an expensive landscape can be classified as necessary.

That said, the bill’s industry specificity opens debate over which industries and sectors deserve which wages. Rather, we should set an across-the-board standard for all employers to meet in accordance with increasing living costs in order to retain and satisfy all workers’ needs. 

For example, lifeguards are estimated to have an average wage of $15.72 per hour in California according to ZipRecruiter. 

While specifics vary, being a lifeguard in California can require completion of multiple-day training programs, CPR and AED certification, and the passing of a swim test. Moreover, while drowning is the third-leading cause of death worldwide, it is estimated that lifeguards save more than 1,000,000 lives per year, according to the International Lifesaving Federation, emphasizing their value. Such comparisons, however, open an argument over which jobs are more or less important, and how that may be reflected in their wages. 

With the bill also excluding restaurant workers, its further exclusion of other industries could lead to an imbalance in the workforce, as those working in sectors like retail and restaurants will be more inclined to instead be fast-food workers on higher wages. 

Should a uniform wage be implemented in the state, not only will employers be able to retain employees more steadily, but will be evenly met regardless of where an individual chooses to work. 

While we can celebrate the achievement of better wages for certain workers, we should nevertheless focus on creating a standard for all minimum-wage jobs in California amidst an ever-increasing expensive society. Only then, with such progress, can California’s legislation truly be appreciated and admired as a trailblazer in supporting all workers. 

*This editorial reflects the views of the Scot Scoop Editorial Board and was written by Emma Goldman.

The Editorial Board voted 7 in agreement, 6 somewhat in agreement, and 2 refrained from voting.

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About the Contributors
Editorial Staff
The Scot Scoop Editorial Staff strives to maintain reliable reporting while covering the hard-hitting topics that interest our community. Content on Scot Scoop is managed, reviewed, and maintained by the editorial staff using various tools and methods to produce, edit, and publish content daily. Editorial Staff members are Gabrielle Shore, Myles HuErik ChengAnnabel ChiaAimee TeyssierUrvi KulkarniEvan LeongUjala ChauhanCharlotte GordonAlexander MenchtchikovBen RomanowskyJackson SneeringerArianna ZhuEmma GoldmanElizabeth CruzAudrey Finigan, Rachel Alcazar, and Alessandra Tremulis.
Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman, Scot Scoop Editor
Emma Goldman is a junior at Carlmont and this is her second year in the journalism program. She enjoys staying informed about the world around her, both by staying up-to-date with the news and interacting with people in the community. In her free time, she enjoys running for the school's cross country and track teams, as well as trying new foods and cooking.

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