Thanks to Seattle’s new $15/hour minimum wage hike, pizza maker Devin Jeran was in heaven or so he thought, right up until he found out it would cost him the job he loved and relied upon. Now Jeran will only see that “bigger” paycheck for a couple more months as his boss prepares to shut down Z Pizza for good, putting him and the rest of the crew in the unemployment line.
The small businesses in this city of nearly 650,000 people will have up to six more years to fully implement the $15/hour minimum wage hike, although businesses such as Z Pizza is a franchise and will be held to the “large” business standards, having to make good on those raises within the next two years.
“I know that I would have stayed here if I had 7 years, just like everyone else, if I had an even playing field,” Ritu Shah Burnham, owner of Z Pizza said. “The discrimination I’m feeling right now against my small business makes me not want to stay and do anything in Seattle.”
Q13, Fox News affiliate in Seattle, reached out to 15 Now Seattle, the organization that pushed for the higher minimum wage, and director Jess Spear hadn’t heard about Z Pizza’s decision to close. So she wouldn’t comment specifically on that, only saying: “Restaurants open and close all the time, for various reasons.”
Devin Jeran is now disillusioned with what he believed was a “good” thing for the hourly waged employees of Seattle, hoping to make a little more money to help pay his living expenses, he now realizes the money to pay the higher wage had to come from somewhere. All I heard while this was being discussed, was how the minimum wage increase would make life better for everyone, but that doesn’t really seem to be the case anymore.
“If that’s the truth, I don’t think that’s very apparent. People like me are finding themselves in a tougher situation than ever,” Jeran told Q14 Fox News.
Owner Ritu Shah Burnham said she can’t she was terrified for her employees; “I have no idea where they’re going to find jobs, because if I’m cutting hours, I imagine everyone is across the board,” she said.
As we start to see the effects of the wage increase on small businesses, many will begin to understand “economics” a bit more thoroughly as it finds its way into their personal lives. As the old adage goes; “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” If you raise the minimum wage, businesses have to find ways to compensate for the extra burden or they can no longer afford to operate. That either equates to a higher cost of living for those living in Seattle, which will be felt by hourly employees as well as everyone else, or in the case of Z Pizza employees, it will cost them their jobs.