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letters | state eyes increase in minimum wage

Second-tier wage undercuts efforts of young people

RE “Raise minimum wage, but exempt summer jobs for teens” (Editorial, June 17): During my high school summers, I worked as a custodian at a local small business. Although I may have been off from school, I still learned lessons every day on the job. For instance, I learned about the value of hard work — that is, working more hours resulted in a larger paycheck.

Looking back, I know that cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors did not motivate me to return to this job each summer. Rather, I returned because of the feeling that I contributed equally to the company’s goals, as reflected in my equal pay.

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However, state Representative Dan Winslow’s amendment, which would lower the minimum wage to $6 for young seasonal workers, would not only discourage young people from working, but would also hinder the progress that teenage students make in the classroom. Creating a two-tiered minimum wage system based on age would tell young employees that their work is less valuable than their older co-workers.

Summer jobs should complement the goals of schools, such as career and college readiness. Therefore, just as schools seek to instill confidence in their students, workplaces should follow suit by creating communities of equity that are focused on success and collaboration. If we want young workers to believe in their own skills, we must maintain a universal minimum wage.

Grant Conway


The writer just completed his freshman year at American University.

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