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Student’s Express Relief and Frustration over Potential $15 Minimum Wage Increase, Expected in the Next Stimulus Bill

License: Jernej Furman. No changes were made.

The $15 minimum wage increase is morally overdue, while others believe that it could harm small buisness and not help others, according to UAB students.

“Ethically, $7 just doesn’t cut it anymore for people who are working well over 40 hours a week,” said Becca Klingensmith, a junior at UAB majoring in history. “The cost of living is rising but the minimum wage hasn’t changed in over a decade.”

As a former fast-food worker, Klingensmith said that it can be hard to make ends meet especially when you’re dividing your time in between being a full-time student and employee.

House and Senate Democrats are looking to add the wage increase into the $1,400 stimulus bill. However, skeptics of the wage increase believe that it will not be a benefit to small business owners. President Biden addressed this concern on Feb. 16, 2021 during a CNN town hall meeting, saying that it is legitimate for small businesses to have concern over the changes in the bill.

Al’Koryan Albert, a UAB sophomore majoring in finance, said that the bill looks to have no downsides when it comes to helping people economically out of poverty.

“Smaller businesses will need to branch out from their immediate areas for them to be able to grow and sustain the turbulence of raising the wage,” Albert said. “When you’re dealing with economics, there will always be some form of trade off.”

However, Sam Adams, a UAB junior majoring in communications, said that it is not the right time to be adding an influx of money to a suffering economy.

“I wouldn’t want it to be in the next stimulus bill because people don’t have jobs and our economy is in hell,” Adams said. “It’s not the time to be implementing a $15 an hour increase in wages.”

With Alabama being one of the poorest states in the country, Essence Gainey a UAB sophomore majoring in Public Health said that she does not see how people who live in wealthier states will gain little to anything from the increase in wages.

“It all depends on where you live,” Gainey said. “If you are from Alabama it might help you but I doubt it will help people that work in areas where the cost of living is higher.”

Marry Hollingsworth a UAB senior majoring in kinesiology said that no matter how much the minimum wage increase adds it must be better than what the working class of American people are currently use to.

“I’m not sure if $15 an hour is feasible,” Hollingsworth said. “As a country I think it’s something we should work towards even if it is only $10.”

As an employee at UAB, Hollingsworth said she understands the struggle of only being paid the current minimum wage and hopes that it will change in the future.

“Whether the $15 minimum wage passes or not,” Hollingsworth said, “the current minimum wage just doesn’t pay the rent.”

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Made By Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham