[Washington] State Rep. Liz Pike (R) has proposed gutting minimum wage laws by allowing employers to ignore them for more than four months of a new employee’s tenure.That's extremely unlikely to pass in Washington, which has the highest minimum wage of any state in the country at this point, at $9.32 an hour, and where there is momentum behind raising it further. But this is where Republicans are headed when they express faux concern about minimum wage increases putting teenagers out of work, because they just aren't worth the higher wage. It's about creating loopholes for employers to pay some people less, pitting minimum wage workers against subminimum wage workers just as they pit union against non-union, workers with benefits against those without. It's about wanting to weaken the minimum wage when and where they can.
The Republican says her idea allows businesses to pay a “training wage” for unskilled workers who would otherwise not be worth hiring and that it is therefore “a job creator for young people,” according to The Columbian. Pike’s bill, which allows employers to pay new workers less than minimum wage for up to 680 hours, does not restrict the wage law loophole to young workers, however. [...]
After paying sub-minimum wages to new workers for four months or more, employers would be under no obligation to keep them on the payroll at higher pay rates, giving businesses incentive to simply let people go and pick up a new “trainee” for the next four months.
We're talking about a party, after all, that put "flexibility" on the minimum wage in the Pacific territories as a goal in its 2012 platform, after several of its 2010 Senate candidates and 2012 presidential candidates argued for repealing or reducing the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Never underestimate the economic damage Republicans want to do to working people.