Labrador: Workers Need Better Skills, Not Higher Minimum Wage


Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) on Monday said that he opposes raising the minimum wage because workers need better skills, not higher entry-level pay.

“You have people at entry level jobs that need to acquire the skills that are necessary so they can move up the food chain,” he said on a conference call with reporters, as recorded by Boise State Public Radio. “And if you make it more difficult for people to hire them at minimum wage, it’s impossible for them to actually gain those jobs and gain the experience they need so they can make more money in the future.”

Labrador’s mom worked at a fast food restaurant, and he said she made more money by working her way up the employment ladder.

“My mom worked at McDonald’s,” he said. “And she decided she wanted to make more money, so she got into the management program at McDonald’s. And that’s how you move up the chain. It’s not by demanding that minimum wage is raised, it’s by actually acquiring the skills. That’s the way that people get ahead in life.”

The congressman added that he believes that if the minimum wage is raised, companies will hire fewer people.

“[Companies] are gonna find a way to do more with less workers,” Labrador said. “So I think you will see an explosion of unemployment. Especially if you do it like some of these unions are asking – to go from $8 an hour to $15 an hour. You’re gonna see automated efficiency happen in fast food where there’s gonna be very few people working those lines.”

Congressional Democrats have proposed legislation to raise the minimum wage, which President Obama supports. However, it is unlikely that the bill will come up for a vote by the end of the year.

More than three quarters of Americans support raising the minimum wage, according to a November Gallup poll.

[H/t Huffington Post]