Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat running for U.S. Senate, favors raising the minimum wage but apparently that may not extend to the restaurant owned by her own family.
Hugh Jass Burgers, the Lundergan family eatery in question, reportedly pays its tip-earning workers just $2.13 an hour, the minimum allowed by law. In Kentucky, the minimum wage for non-tipped employees is $7.25.
On the campaign trail, Grimes has been advocating a $10.10 minimum wage as well as an unspecified living wage.
When asked about this apparent inconsistency, Grimes did not directly answer but instead replied that “My family is not in this race; I’m on the ballot.” Grimes essentially said the same thing in refusing to admit that she voted for Barack Obama in past presidential elections, i.e., that the president is not on the ballot this fall. Obama, however, recently said that while he isn’t on the ballot, all of his policies are.
Currently serving as Kentucky’s secretary of state and from a long-time politically connected family, Grimes is running against incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell, the GOP minority leader. Most polls show McConnell with a small lead over Alison Grimes.
About Hugh Jass Burgers, The Washington Free Beaconnoted that “the restaurant, for which Grimes conducts legal work, also features some blatantly sexist menu items such as ‘Charlotte’s Rack, sure to be voted biggest rack’ named after Grimes’ mother, and ‘Abby’s Hugh Jass,’ a burger named after her sister. In 2013, Grimes’ campaign accused the GOP of sexism.”
As disclosed by The Daily Caller, the Lundergan family catering business is also soliciting on its website for unpaid interns to enable individuals to “gain experience and knowledge of the event-planning business.”
Hard-working Americans — whether hourly or salaried — across all sectors probably deserve a raise, and there is some level of abuse inherent in the free market. In general, however, the business community across the country opposes hiking the minimum hourly wage during a down economy because it claims that some or many establishments will be forced to shut their doors or reduce headcount as a result of added labor costs.
One argument for increasing the minimum wage, perhaps, is that the boost might encourage low-income individuals to get off government-provided welfare and become productive in the marketplace. While some employers clearly exploit workers in terms of low pay, an argument against raising the minimum wage by government edict is that it would discourage employers who otherwise operate in good faith from hiring lesser-skilled workers for entry-level positions, which is what the minimum wage was originally designed for. Moreover, the fast-food industry in particular is moving toward automation with such initiatives as self-ordering kiosks, so technology might make the whole minimum wage debate somewhat moot.
Watch a CNN report on the Alison Grimes minimum wage issue below.
Given Alison Lundergan Grimes’ support for a higher minimum wage, do you think the restaurant owned by her family should set the example and increase the hourly pay of its employees?
[top image credit: Patrick Delahanty]