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Chamber president believes new minimum wage will force other wages up

The president of the North Bay Chamber of Commerce believes the sudden increase in the minimum wage will force other wages up.  Peter Chirico says people who made $14 an hour before the minimum wage rose to that level have historically made a few dollars more than minimum wage earners.   However, Chirico says when the minimum wage jumped to $14 an hour on Monday, that spread of several dollars an hour disappeared overnight and he doubts employees will accept this.   “They will maintain we had a difference of several dollars between what we made and the minimum wage and we want that back,” Chirico said.

The chamber president told Moose News some merchants have told the business group they expect workers to make this demand.  “What we’ve heard from businesses in non-union shops is that employees who used to make $15 an hour will want $16, $17 and $18 an hour.”   Chirico believes the Ontario Liberals did not take this unintended consequence into account when making plans to raise the minimum wage.  He’s also making a point of not blaming labour for this because normally higher wages go hand in hand with a more skilled workforce.

A concern for Chirico is as this scenario plays out in Ontario over a period of time, will it also force prices up dramatically which could result in higher inflation.  He says the last time this happened in the late 1970s and 80s we saw huge jumps in interest rates and the chamber president said that’s not something he wants to see repeated.


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