Letter to the editor: Minimum wage not only tool to improve job quality

Posted on August 18, 2019

Grace Heffernan // Crain's Cleveland Business

In “A higher minimum wage may hurt as it helps” in the July 29 issue of Crain’s, Murat Tasci stated, “Minimum wage is a very blunt tool to improve the condition of workers.” Regardless of how blunt it is, increasing the minimum wage is an important tool.

But he’s right that in Northeast Ohio, it is not our only tool. Finding ways to use other tools to address business talent needs and to improve the quality of jobs for workers will be crucial as the minimum wage debate rages on at the local, state and federal levels.

Wages are typically the first aspect of job quality that comes to mind, and for good reason. It is a foundational piece of the puzzle. But wages do not exist in a vacuum, nor do they make up the totality of a person’s experience at work. The National Fund for Workforce Solutions’ Quality Job Framework and Pacific Community Ventures’ Moving Beyond Job Creation Report cite a number of other features that can improve job quality for workers, including career development, wealth-building opportunities and external linkages to community resources that can help stabilize workers’ personal lives.

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