But the proposed hike also will have many unintended consequences for our small businesses.
First, we would need to reduce our work force and hire only highly skilled employees. Over 10 percent of low-wage workers in Seattle do not speak English well. Right now, we hire many recent immigrants who would not likely be able to find other work in such a competitive market. At $15/hour, we would have to reduce our staff and only hire skilled, experienced workers who speak English fluently.
Second, we would upgrade our technology and use machines to do some work formerly done by hand. For example, the people you see packing produce at Lam’s Seafood in Little Saigon would be replaced by automation.
Third, we would halt plans to expand our businesses in Seattle. Ethnic communities have been moving outside Seattle for years because of the city’s rising prices. This proposal would accelerate the migration of minorities from Seattle to the surrounding areas, a trend shown in the 2010 Census.
Fourth, we would have to raise prices on an already price-sensitive community. Tam Nguyen of Tamarind Tree estimated he would pay $45,500 each month in additional wages and taxes. “Even with a 30 percent price increase, how can I afford that?” said Nguyen. Washington Restaurant Association’s survey of 400 restaurant owners showed the wage hike would mean 82 percent of restaurants would raise prices, 69 percent would lay off some staff, and 45 percent would close business, declare bankruptcy, or close a location.http://www.nwasianweekly.com/2014/04/commentary-ethnic-business-community-says-15-minimum-wage-hike-proposal/