Larry Hubich of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour doesn’t buy Braun-Pollon’s line of thinking, which essentially says that if the majority of minimum wage earners are young people, they deserve to be ignored.
“I hear the argument that [minimum wage earners] are mostly students who are going to school and don’t really need the money,” he says. “This might be true — if you want to have a whole generation of 30-year-olds living in the basements of their parents’ houses because they can’t afford to move away.”
The SFL has been advocating for a higher minimum wage for years now, saying that even the lowest income earners should be paid at least 75 per cent of the average industrial wage. Hubich says he knows of people who are struggling to take care of families on low-income.
“It’s impossible to raise a family or make a living or have a reasonable life earning minimum wage," he says. “We know what apartments go for, we know what gas goes for, we know what transit passes go for, we know what food goes for — so if you’re working full time on minimum wage, you’re living in poverty.”
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