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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 31, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas — Herakf-Zeitung □ Sunday, August 31,1997 □ 7A* Labor Day brings phase two •IT. increase By ALICE ANN LOVE Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of Americans have a little extra something to celebrate this Labor Day: a pay raise of 40 cents an hour. On Monday, the federal minimum wage increases to $5.15 an hour as part of the second phase of an increase approved by Congress last summer. The first phase last fall lifted the nation’s standard wage for hourly workers to $4.75 from $4.25, where it had sat unchanged for more than five years. “It helps,” said Maria Christina Lopez, a 38-year-old mother of five who has worked six months at a Dairy Queen in Earth, Texas, “because bills and everything are going up.” And the change will affect more people than just the estimated 6.4 million workers who now make below $5.15 an hour. “We have to raise (all wages) to keep them in line,” said Ed Guerra, Lopez’s boss, who runs Dairy Queen restaurants throughout West Texas. “We can’t pay a crew leader the same as a (regular) employee.” Overall, about IO million minimum wage workers will have benefited from either last fall’s increase or Monday’s increase, the Labor Department says. Some people last fall got raises that were big enough to push them above the new $5.15 minimum, the agency says. Supporters call the raises welldeserved. “Corporate profits and earnings for the average worker are rising. This minimum wage increase will help ensure that the lowest-paid Americans also share in this Millions affected by wage increase By Th* Associated Proas * State Pct Workers Ala. 14.0 246,162 Alaska3.6 8,590 Ariz. 9.9 180,343 Ark. 14.8 155325 Calif. IOO 1330381 Colo. 6.1 106309 Conn. 4.6 65,527 Del. 6.2 20,189 DC. 5.5 12,601 Fla. 10.1 578372 Ga. 9.4 294380 Hawah3.0 14366 Idaho 10.7 51,078 UL 6.8 354,033 Ind. 9.3 247,721 Iowa 9.0 117,129 Kan. 11.8 127303 Ky 10.4 160,092 La. 15.3 250,269 Maine 7.9 40,631 Md. 5.7 134,276 Mass. 5.0 133,840 Mich. 7.2 289,417 Minn. 6.0 127,595 Miss. 16.5 177,123 Mo. 8.1 194,198 Mont. 11.9 38,865 Neb. 8.8 63354 Nev. 6.2 43,894 N.H. 5.1 26369 NJ. 4.6 156,725 N.M. 12.3 76,434 N.Y. 7.6 542,091 N.C. 9.2 297,471 N.D. 13.6 36,307 Ohio 8.7 419,729 Okla. 14.6 189,111 Orc. 7.3 98,980 Pa. 8.9 437,319 RI. 7.3 30,747 SC. 11.3 176,471 SD. 10.2 31,095 Term. 8.7 196,412 Texas 12.0 952,938 Utah 8.6 71,857 Vt. 7.0 17,854 Va. 8.4 250,109 Wash. 5.4 126,229 W.Va. 14.8 99,772 „.Wis. 6.6 163,120 Wyo. 12.5 25355 US. 8.9 9,886,158 prosperity,” said Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman. The increase comes at a time when the booming economy has pulled unemployment down to 4.8 percent — its lowest level since the 1960s. '“Despite the claims of the opposition, raising the minimum wage had no job loss effect,” said Jared Bernstein, an economist with the liberal Economic Policy Institute. But critics who warned there would be consequences — such as reductions in die number of jobs or People’s working hours — say the unusually strong economy has simply delayed problems. “I think there are red flags on the horizon,” said Jeffrey H. Joseph of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The increase could, for example, . make private companies less likely to hire welfare recipients who lose benefits, Joseph said. “I think you’ll start seeing the movement from welfare to work will slow down,” said Joseph. “You’re now digging deeper into the welfare ranks to people who have fewer skills, yet what we’re doing now is increasing the price people have to pay for them.” More than 90 percent of the Americans receiving the minimum wage work in private-sector jobs such as retail stores and restaurants, sales or private household jobs like housekeepers. Of those getting the raise, roughly 57 percent are women, 32 percent are youths ages 16 to 19, and 55 percent work part time, according to the Labor Department. Monday’s increase is the 25th since the minimum was first instituted in 1938 at 25 cents an hour. At the new rate, yearly earnings for full-time work at minimum wage will be about $10300. In contrast, the government said the 1995 poverty level — the latest year available — was about $15,600 for a family of four. To alleviate fears that small companies could be hurt, Republican lawmakers won tax breaks for small firms before agreeing to the wage hike last year. Yet even young workers — among the most vulnerable to labor market pressures — appear to have been unscathed. Their unemployment rate also is down. “There’s a lot of young people who are starting off at minimum wage,” said Juan Harrington, a parttime worker at a Washington area Safeway, who makes just above the minimum wage. “This will put a little more money in their pockets, too.” And labor advocates already are clamoring for an even higher minimum. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., has introduced a bill that would boost it to $7.25 an hour by 2002. But, warns John Doyle, spokesman for the Employment Policies Institute, a higher minimum can attract students who might not otherwise work, displacing less-educated adults. “The higher wage attracts higher-skilled employees,” said Doyle. “As an employer, I can be told how much to pay, but I can’t be told who I have to pay it to.” nim' luny iK'fial A ( ,K Alit K INB \ 11 Bridging the Gap... Between the Doctor’s Office and the Emergency Room New Braunfels Minor Emergency YOU DON'T NEED AN APPOINTMENT 226 N. UNION 609-3413 Hours: M-F 10-9 Sat. 10-5 Ifs a Cellular Celebration with up to $50 in Rebates on Graber* CrystalPleat Petal soft, double cell shadesand The \fefje Loader in Single Cel Shades Ottie’s Custom Drapes The Window Shop Offer ends 9/30/97 144 North Castell Street, New Braunfels (830) 625-1742 A list of the percentage of workers and number of workers in each state estimated to be affected by minimum wage increases last fall and Monday. Figures come from the Economic Policy Institute, a private group that analyzed monthly population surveys done by the Census Bureau for die Bureau of Labor Statistics. Announcing the Opening of New Braunfels Vision Center, PA September 9,1997 Now Accepting Appointments - S. GRANT SMITH, M.D. is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist specializing in comprehensive ophthalmic care, including the latest refractive surgery techniques, surgical and laser care of the eye. Full-Time Optical Center with Licensed Optician offering professional assistance to help you choose the correct frames A lenses for you • 24 Hour Service (in most cases] • Contact Lenses • Sunglasses • Complete Selection of Designer Eyewear • Featuring Zeiss & Rodenstock Products 1527 East Common • New Braunfels, TX 78130 (Common Street between Loop 337 & FM 306) (830) 606-9099 THAM YOU! It’s our great customers that make us WINNERS! 7* eof    *****    * •>.»% OFF SMI ON ALL ACCESSORIES IN STOCK! limited time offer AWARD WINNING DIGITAL & CELLULAR SPECIALISTS KRAFT M0BILETEL wins three out of four AT&T WIRELESS SERVICES TOP SALES AWARDS in the San Antonio Market! I--* >X| f ««*,♦ t“ Vt* \ ' i KRAUT Top Sale® Winner • / ADAT* Healy ToP Sales Winner \ CW AF® Top Sale® VAnflct / I KRAFT t\/l(DE3lt EITEL- Your Communications Specialists 671 S. Seguin 629-7466 IAN Wireless Bervie** Authored Deaief ;