Some History of Minimum-Wage Legislation in America

“In the late 1960s, Otis Elevator pushed for an increase in the minimum wage in New York state because it had begun to specialize in converting human-operated elevators to automatic elevators and wanted an increase in demand for its services.

“Forty years ago, the politicians who pushed for the increased minimum wage did not hide their motives.  Nor, in an era of state-sanctioned segregation, did they feel the need to hide their knowledge of who the intended victims of minimum-wage legislation would be.  In a 1957 Senate hearing, minimum-wage advocate Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who just four years later would be President of the United States, stated,

Of course, having on the market a rather large source of cheap labor depresses wages outside of that group, too – the wages of the white worker who has to compete.  And when an employer can substitute a colored worker at a lower wage – and there are, as you pointed out, these hundreds of thousands looking for decent work – it affects the whole wage structure of an area, doesn’t it?

via Some History of Minimum-Wage Legislation in America.

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