[译文]小人物眼中的最低工资法

Seattle’s Coming $15 Minimum Wage
西雅图即将实施15美元最低工资标准

作者:Clinton Alexander @ 2015-10-28
译者:沈沉(@你在何地-sxy)
校对:混乱阈值(@混乱阈值)
来源:The New American,www.thenewamerican.com/economy/economics/item/21844-seattles-coming-15-minimum-wage

In the city of Seattle, Washington, Joe Salvatore runs The Recycling Depot, a recycling business employing about 20 people. Not far away, Bobby Denovski is eking out a living at Padrino’s Pizza and Pasta with a handful of employees, and Remo Borracchini is busy running an Italian Bakery. The story is the same across Washington State and across the nation: Businesses are fighting every day to service customers, treat employees well, and simply stay open.

Joe Salvatore在华盛顿州西雅图市经营一家叫做“回收站”的回收企业,雇佣了大约20人。不远处,Bobby Denovski正惨淡经营着“帕记披萨和意粉”店,雇有少量员工。而Remo Borracchini则在为经营一家名为“意大利烘焙”的小店而上下奔波。这种故事在华盛顿州和整个美国都很普遍:为了服务顾客、善待雇员以及仅仅是保持开业,企业每天都在奋斗。

Unfortunately in the city of Seattle, it is about to get much more difficult for business owners to continue the fight. Pushed forward primarily by socialist city councilwoman Kshama Sawant, the first phase of a new minimum wage law went into effect on April 1, 2015, and the law will eventually bring all businesses to a $15 minimum wage, more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

不幸地是,在西雅图市,企业主想要继续奋斗下去,将来会变得更加艰难。主要由信奉社会主义的女市议员Kshama Sawant推动的新最低工资法已于2015年4月1日进入第一阶段的实施,并最终将对所有企业实行15美元最低工资标准,相当于将目前时薪7.25美元的联邦最低工资翻了一倍以上。

The law is a graduated system with different pay scales and timelines for businesses above and below 500 employees. For businesses with 501 employees or more, the April 1, 2015 minimum wage was set at $11 an hour. For the next two years, on January 1 of each year, the wage increases, rising from the current $11 per hour to $13, reaching $15 an hour on January 1, 2018.

新法建立的是一个分级制度,对于雇员超过和低于(及等于)500人的企业分别设立了不同的工资标准和时间表。对于雇有501或更多雇员的企业,2015年4月1日开始最低工资是时薪11美元。在接下来的两年内,每年1月1日提一次工资,从现在的时薪11美元提到13美元,到2018年1月1日实现时薪15美元。

For companies paying at least $1.50 per hour toward a silver level medical benefits plan, the minimum wage goes to $12.50 on January 1 of 2016, then $13.50 in 2017, and finally $15 an hour in January of 2018. As stated on Seattle’s website seattle.gov, “Once Seattle’s minimum wage reaches $15.00/hour, payments toward medical benefits no longer impact employees’ minimum wage.”

如果企业每小时至少帮员工支付1.5美元给白银级医疗福利计划,那么它们的最低工资从2016年1月1日开始将是12.5美元,2017年是13.5美元,最终到2018年1月达到15美元。西雅图市的网站seattle.gov上称:“一旦西雅图的最低工资达到15美元每小时,那么医疗福利付费就不会再影响雇员的最低工资标准。”

On April 1, 2015, small-business wages were set at $11 an hour as well. For companies at or below the 500-employee mark, the $15 minimum wage is set to be phased in over the course of the next decade. Again, counting medical benefits and other factors such as tips, the total compensation varies. By the year 2021, the minimum wage will be $15 with tips and health insurance factored in, and in 2025, small businesses must meet the $15 minimum wage without credit for tips or insurance.

2015年4月1日起,小企业的工资也被设定为时薪11美元。对于雇员数量在500名或更少的公司,最低工资标准将在接下来的10年内逐步施行。同样,把医疗福利和其他因素如小费算在内,总工资也会不同。到2021年,把小费和健康保险算在内,最低工资将是15美元,而到2025年,小企业必须符合刨除小费或保险后15美元的最低工资标准。

President Obama has repeatedly urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. For this reason it would behoove those across the nation to pay special attention to the city of Seattle. Seattle is tucked away in the northwestern corner of the nation; however, as the city squeezes its businesses for more and more money, it may become ground zero for the minimum wage fight.

奥巴马总统已经反复敦促国会将联邦最低工资从时薪7.25美元提升至时薪10.10美元。因此之故,全美理应特别关注西雅图市。西雅图深藏于美国的西北角落,不过,随着这座城市从其企业身上不断榨取越来越多的钱财,它可能成为最低工资之战的引爆点。

Reasons for the Law
立法理由

Since being first enacted in 1928, the idea of a “minimum wage” has been sold as a law that will benefit the poorest sectors of our society. According to Cornell Law School, “The minimum wage was designed to create a minimum standard of living to protect the health and well-being of employees.”

自1928年首次创设为法律以来,“最低工资”概念就被作为一种有利于社会中贫困群体的法律向大众兜售。根据康奈尔大学法学院的说法,“设计最低工资是为了制定一种最低生活水平,以保障雇员的健康和福利。”

Likewise, from the city of Seattle’s own website we find, “Citywide minimum wage laws offer local governments a powerful tool for helping low-income workers and families in their communities. Such measures also have significant impact on businesses and how they operate.” Minimum wage advocates have held that it is possible to set a minimum pay scale and have no ill effect on jobs.

同样,我们也能从西雅图市自己的网站上看到,“全市范围内的最低工资法,能给地方政府提供一种强大工具,以帮助各自社区中的低收入工人和家庭。这种措施也将对企业及其运营方式产生巨大影响。”最低工资的鼓吹者历来相信,设定一种最低工资标准而不对就业产生任何不良影响是可能的。

Operating under the assumption that simply raising the minimum wage will guarantee said wage, the people pushing for the $15 minimum wage claim that it has the power to lift the poor to that “new standard of living.” Is this true? Will it indeed lift the needy in our communities to another level, or is it a false assumption, one that will cause irreparable damage to business and industry?

依着“简单地将最低工资标准提升一下就能实现这一工资收入”的假定行事,那些争取15美元最低工资的人就此宣称,这一标准有能力将穷人提升到“新的生活水平”。这是真的吗?它真的能将我们社区中的贫困人口提升一个水平?还是说这是个错误的假设,将会对企业和实业造成不可弥补的伤害?

Asking the Businesses
问问企业

Several business owners in Seattle were kind enough to give their own opinions of Seattle’s minimum wage law and explain how it will have a negative impact not only on their businesses, but on those people it was designed to help.

承蒙西雅图一些企业主的好意,向我们表达了他们对西雅图最低工资法的个人看法,并解释了它会如何产生负面影响,而这种负面影响不仅仅会作用于他们自己的企业,而且会作用于立法本来意图帮助的那些人。

Walter McLaughlin has been in Small Business Administration (SBA) lending for 27 years. He won the Washington State Financial Services Champion award in 2005. Concerning the minimum wage law in Seattle, McLaughlin said in an e-mail statement:

Walter McLaughlin已在“小企业管理局”(SBA)借贷项目工作了27年。他于2005年获得了“华盛顿州金融服务冠军”的称号。关于西雅图的最低工资法,McLaughlin在一份电邮声明中说:

In economics, there is a principal called “zero sum gain” in which an increase is offset by a loss of equal amount. When a small business (and per the SBA’s size standards, over 99% of U.S. companies qualify as small) sees its operating costs increase, it has three options: 1) absorb the cost, 2) raise prices or 3) lower expenses. Since businesses don’t operate with the intention of losing money, the irony of a drastic increase in the minimum wage is that in order for employers to adjust, the net effect may be higher inflation and unemployment, disproportionately hurting the very same group the $15 minimum wage was intended to help.

在经济学中,有个原理叫做‘零和受益’,其中增加值被等量的损失所抵消。如果一家小企业(按照SBA的规模标准,美国超过99%的公司算小企业)的运营成本上升,它就面临三个选项:1)承担这一成本,2)提高价格,或者3)降低开支。由于企业运营的目的并不是为了损失金钱,所以最低工资急剧提升的反讽在于,雇主为了实现调整,最终净效果可能是通胀升高及失业率升高,这对于15美元最低工资标准意图帮助的那个群体损害相对更大。

McLaughlin lays out three ways in which the new Seattle minimum wage law will play out as it’s implemented: a loss to the business owner (absorb the cost), a cost to the general public (raise prices), or a reduction in expenses (possible job loss).

McLaughlin提出了西雅图最低工资新法实施之后最终将走向的三种路径:企业主出现损失(承担成本),一般公众的损失(提高价格),或者削减开支(可能出现工作岗位流失)。

A Loss to the Business Owner
企业主出现损失

For those people who have never run a business, the absorption of the additional cost may seem to be the easiest and most straightforward solution to the requirement to pay employees more. But contrary to what those who have never had the experience of sitting down with a company’s balance sheets might think, all business owners are not jet-setting CEOs with profits just flowing in.

对于从未经营过任何企业的人来说,为了达到支付雇员更高工资的要求,由企业承担额外成本似乎是最简单、最直接的解决办法。但与这些从未看过任何一个公司财务收支表的人所想的相反,并非所有企业主都是乘坐直升机的CEO,利润滚滚而来。

At The Recycling Depot, general manager Joe Salvatore stated, “What these people don’t take into consideration is that when you raise the wage, you’re raising the Labor and Industries Insurance cost because that amount is affected by the wages. I have already talked to several small businesses in the area and there’s not a single one who is making tons and tons of money where they’re just going to be able to absorb these costs.”

“回收站”的总经理Joe Salvatore说,“这些人没有考虑到,如果提高工资,你还会提高劳动和工业保险成本,因为后者会受工资影响。我已经和本地区的数家小企业谈过,没有一家是在成吨成吨地赚钱,没有一家能够直接承担这些成本。”

In other words, while the absorption of minor costs may be a normal and constant part of running a business, the bottom line is a major factor. At Padrino’s Pizza and Pasta, Bobby Denovski echoed Salvatore’s sentiment: “We aren’t a large company with huge profits. As a small business the cost of labor is one of the main factors. Fifteen dollars an hour, that’s a lot of money to ask from a small business.”

换句话说,尽管运营一家企业时,承受并消化小量的成本可能是个司空见惯、总在发生的事,但盈亏底线是个主要的因素。“帕记披萨和意粉”店的Bobby Denovski呼应了Salvatore的观点:“我们不是那种利润巨大的大公司。对于小企业来说,主要因素之一就是劳工成本。15美元一小时,这种要价对于小企业来说可是一大笔钱。”

When asked what effect he could foresee the escalating minimum wage law having on his business, Denovski commented, “It could put us all out looking for jobs. We have a couple more years paying on the loan for our restaurant. If we end up paying this $15 an hour, we are honestly in danger of losing it.”

当被问及不断升级的最低工资法将来会对其生意产生何种影响时,Denovski评论说,“我们可能都会被迫出去找工作了。我们的餐馆还有几年贷款需要还。如果最终我们需要支付15美元的时薪,我们真的可能会失去餐馆。”

Likewise, The Recycling Depot, as a metals recycling business, is subject to sometimes-dramatic market fluctuations. Metal values can skyrocket, allowing ample room to treat employees well, and values can plummet, leaving the business struggling to survive. Said Salvatore of the times when the market is up, “We do take care of our employees during those times. We give bonuses and things like that. However what about the lean times? This is going to have a dramatic effect on us during the lean times. You can’t just start taking the pay away.”

同样,从事金属回收生意的“回收站”也承受着市场波动,时不时还非常剧烈。金属价格可能飙升,此时企业就有足够的空间来更好对待员工,但价格也可能跳水,那样企业就只能竭力求生。谈及市场向好的时候,Salvatore说,“那种时候我们确实会照顾自己的员工。我们提供奖金等类似东西。但生意差的时候呢?在生意差的时候,这会给我们造成巨大的影响。减少支出都来不及。”

A Cost to the General Public
一般公众的损失

If costs cannot be simply absorbed by the company, another option is to raise the price of the product. Bobby Denovski stated, “The only thing I can do is to raise the prices. I worry that the demand for pizza in the community will not support the prices we will have to go to when the wages go up.” How much is a pizza worth to those in his community? How about a gallon of milk? Those claiming the minimum wage will have no ill effect on the community should be asking themselves these questions, because at some point most small business owners such as Denovski must find a way to recoup these costs.

如果成本不能简单地由企业承担,还有一个选项就是提高产品价格。Bobby Denovski称,“我唯一能做就是提高价格。如果工资上涨,我们就必须抬高价位,我担心我所在社区的披萨需求不足以支持我们的这种要价。”在他的社区,一份披萨应该要价多少?一加仑牛奶呢?那些声称最低工资不会对社区产生不良影响的人应当问问自己这些问题,因为到了某个时候,绝大多数小企业主,如Denovski一样,都会想办法转移这些成本。

Referring again to fluctuating values in the metals market, Salvatore stated, “We’re very dependent on the global prices of metals. When the metal values drop, we’re making less money and our margins shrink. During times like this there are a lot of businesses just trying to stay afloat.” And so he is forced to try to pass on the costs in another manner.

Salvatore再一次谈及金属市场的波动价格:“我们对全球金属价格有很大的依赖。金属价格下跌时,我们赚的钱就减少,利润收缩。碰到这种时候,大量的企业只是谋求维持下去。”所以他将被迫以另一种方式把成本传递出去。

As a metals recycling business, The Recycling Depot purchases metals from other businesses and from the general public, then sells those metals based on current market prices. Because Salvatore has no control over the sale price (dictated by global supply and demand), the only thing he can do is to drop the prices he is paying the public for those metals, illustrating the second point (a cost to the public) in another light.

从事金属回收行业的“回收站”从别的企业及一般公众手里收购金属,然后依照当前市场价格将这些金属卖出。由于Salvatore没有办法控制销售价格(它由全球供给和全球需求决定),他唯一能做的就是压低他支付给公众的金属收购价格,这从另一个方面说明了我们提出的第二点(公众的损失)。

Lower Expenses
降低开支

Absent the ability to absorb the higher wages or pass on the costs to someone else, a third way to compensate is to lower expenses. On the surface this sounds harmless enough. However, it often means the disappearance of jobs.

要是没有能力承担更高的工资或将成本传递给其他人,那么还有第三种弥补办法,那就是降低开支。表面看来这种做法相当无害。但是,它通常意味着工作岗位消失。

At Borracchini’s Bakery in Seattle, a business that has been open for 94 years, Remo Borracchini has a long history of hiring youth. “I myself have probably hired 1,500 young people over the years. I have had people come here as teenagers and stay here as much as 25 years, so they came and learned a trade,” said Borracchini.

西雅图的“博记烘焙”是一家已经开业94年的企业,店主Remo Borracchini 历来喜欢雇佣年轻人。“多年以来,我本人可能雇佣了1500个年轻人。我手下有些人,来的时候还是个少年,然后就在这工作了25年。他们来我这里,学会了一门生意”,Borrachini这样说道。

He has brought in high-school students who have never worked a job and started them washing pots and pans, stocking shelves, and mopping floors. While the wages many of these new hires make is not a large sum, Borracchini sees a bigger picture:

他曾招过一些从未干过任何工作的高中生,让他们从刷盘子洗碗、装货架、拖地开始干起。尽管这些新进员工所赚取的工资并不多,Borracchini看到的却是一幅更大的图景:

It’s not that we’re just looking for cheap labor. It’s the understanding that you’re doing something for these young people other than sending them out to wander aimlessly through the neighborhoods. You see, I do believe we have a responsibility to our young people. There used to be internships throughout industry. Now that has changed.

并不是说我们只是为了找些廉价劳工。我们的理解是,你是在帮这些年轻人做点什么事,没有让他们在社区中没头没脑地游窜。跟你说,我确实相信我们对年轻人负有责任。过去,各行各业都有实习。现在事情发生了变化。

They used to go into places like print shops, or bakeries and come to begin learning a trade; that was their reimbursement, they were learning something that would benefit them throughout their life. Now they’ve passed a law saying they have to be paid a wage. So what happens? If you’re going to have to pay someone who doesn’t know anything, you might as well pay someone who already knows something.

过去,他们要去文印店或面包店等类似地方,开始学习一门行当;那相当于他们的回报,他们是在学习某种将会受益终身的东西。现在有人制定一条法律,说是必须给他们支付工资。那会发生什么呢?如果有人啥都不懂,你也必须要支付他工资,那你还不如向那些懂点什么的人支付工资。

Continued Borracchini,

Borracchini继续说,

Businesses like McDonald’s, they built their empire not on a philosophy of it being a high paying job, but to take kids who have never worked before, teach them a little bit about work ethic and how to perform, and they move on to better opportunities when they have shown they have a bit of ability. You’ll begin to see the order screens in every type of McDonald’s scenario. Look at the jobs they’re eliminating right there. Kids who would be learning to show up for work on time, learning how to interact with the public, how to have a bit of work ethic.

像麦当劳这种企业帝国,它的建基哲学并不是它之作为一种高薪职位,而是它招募此前从未工作过的人,教给他们一点工作伦理和如何履职,然后当他们表现出具备一定能力时,就能前进一步,迈向更好的机会。以后你会看到各式各样的麦当劳式情景,大家都开始用点菜屏。看看他们正在消灭的工作。孩子们本来可以学会按时上班,学会如何与公众打交道,如何具备一点工作伦理。

Salvatore echoed Borracchini, stating that in order to recoup labor costs, jobs would almost certainly be cut, “at least cutting hours back if not completely doing away with jobs. The well is not bottomless.”

Salvatore呼应了Borrachini,并说,为了弥补劳工成本,工作岗位几乎肯定会被削减,“如果不是彻底废除岗位,至少需要减少雇佣时长。井中的水毕竟是有限的。”

At Padrino’s, a clearly concerned Denovski stated, “Right now it’s [the minimum wage] at $11 an hour and it is already difficult for me and my partner to keep the bills paid and the employees paid. They’re going to be raising that expense up to $15, but none of our other costs will be going down. I honestly don’t know what we’re going to do.”

“帕记”的Denovski明显很是担心,他说,“现在的最低工资是时薪11美元,而我和我的合伙人已经感到难以偿付账单、支付员工工资。他们还要将这一开支提高到15美元,而我们的其他成本都不会降低。我真的不知道我们有什么办法。”

Salvatore then commented on a worst-case scenario, “Eventually we have to tighten the ropes, and then what happens when there’s nothing left in the reserve?” Indeed, what does happen? What happens to the low-skill workers looking for a job? Where will the teenager or young adult go for training when McDonald’s has automated order screens? As Borracchini said, “It is the internship and low-skill jobs which will be cut. We will have sent them back out onto the street.”

然后,Salvatore就最坏的情形作了评论,“最终我们必须拉紧裤腰带,如果没有剩下任何储备,那会发生什么呢?”确实,会发生什么呢?对于那些找工作的低技术工人,会发生什么呢?当麦当劳开始用自动点菜屏时,少年或刚刚成年的人们要去哪里接受训练?正如Borracchini所说,“被削减的会是那些实习岗位和低技术岗位。我们将不得不把他们送回街上。”

Help or Harm?
帮助还是伤害?

Seattle businesses obviously view the new minimum wage law with quite a bit of trepidation. It is easy to see why. These companies will have to find a way to recuperate the costs one way or another. No matter how it ends up happening, it will be a detriment to the community and the city.

西雅图的企业显然正以相当程度的恐惧看待最低工资新法。很容易发现原因所在。这些公司都必须寻找各种办法来弥补成本。不管最终会发生什么,它对于社区和整个城市都是一种损害。

In “The Tax & Budget Bulletin” by The Cato Institute dated March 2014, Joseph J. Sabia, associate professor of economics at San Diego State University, explains how a minimum wage affects the poor’s standard of living and employment opportunities:

在加图研究所2014年3月的“税收与预算简报”中,圣迭戈州立大学的经济学副教授Joseph J. Sabia就最低工资会如何影响穷人的生活水平和就业机会作出了解释:

The bulletin concludes that minimum wage increases almost always fail to meet proponents’ policy objectives and often hurt precisely the vulnerable populations that advocates wish to help. The weight of the science suggests that policymakers should abandon higher minimum wages as an antiquated anti-poverty tool. Minimum wages deter employment and are poorly targeted to those in need.

简报的结论是,提高最低工资几乎总是不能实现其支持者的政策目标,而且通常都会恰好伤害到鼓吹者们想要帮助的脆弱群体。科学表明,决策者们应当放弃提高最低工资这种早已过时的反贫困工具。最低工资伤害就业,而且对于身处困境的人们来说真是南辕北辙。

His words echo the business owners quoted here. Says Borracchini, “I can sympathize with someone who is trying to raise a family. Fifteen dollars is not a lot of money. It’s very difficult. However, there is an element of society who through laws like this are being denied a great privilege. The opportunity to learn how to work.”

他的言论正与我们此处所引企业主的言论互相呼应。Borracchini说,“有人要努力养活一家人,这我能够同情。15美元并不是很大一笔钱。世事艰难。但是,通过这种法律,社会中有一部分人将无法享有一项重要的权利。那就是学会如何工作的机会。”

The bottom line is that the minimum wage law was supposedly created to help the poor and needy in our society. However, it is the low-skill and poor who will feel the effect first and foremost, and who will find it much more difficult to acquire the job skills needed to raise the value of their labor to or above the minimum wage.

这里的底线是,最低工资法的创设,本意是为了帮助我们社会中的穷人和急需帮助的人群。但是,首当其冲感受到其影响的就是低技术人口和贫困人口,他们将发现,要将自己的劳动价值提高到或超过最低工资,就必须获得工作技能,而这将变得比以前更难。

As voices cry ever louder for an increased federal minimum wage, the stories of small businesses across the nation need to be brought into the spotlight — businesses reaching out to unskilled youth willing to put in time training. Companies managing a tight bottom line can’t handle the extra expense of yet another increase in wages.

随着提高联邦最低工资的呼声与日俱增,有必要将全美小企业的故事带到台前——这些企业都在向那些技能不足但愿意花时间接受训练的年轻人敞开双臂。盈亏底线很紧张的公司没有办法应对未来工资再次上涨所带来的额外开支。

The heart of our nation does not lie within the halls of Congress but rather in the bakeries, pizza shops, recycling centers, and myriad other small businesses. It is not in the backroom deals between politicians where the effects of these laws will be felt, but rather in the checking accounts of struggling businesses.

我们民族的心脏并不位于国会的办公大楼里,而是位于各家烘焙店、披萨店、回收中心以及种种其他小企业中。要感受到这些法律的效果,不是去看政客之间的暗箱交易,而需要去看艰难度日的各家企业的存款账户。

(编辑:辉格@whigzhou)

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——海德沙龙·翻译组,致力于将英文世界的好文章搬进中文世界——

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Seattle’s Coming $15 Minimum Wage 西雅图即将实施15美元最低工资标准 作者:Clinton Alexander @ 2015-10-28 译者:沈沉(@你在何地-sxy) 校对:混乱阈值(@混乱阈值) 来源:The New American,www.thenewamerican.com/economy/economics/item/21844-seattles-coming-15-minimum-wage In the city of Seattle, Washington, Joe Salvatore runs The Recycling Depot, a recycling business employing about 20 people. Not far away, Bobby Denovski is eking out a living at Padrino’s Pizza and Pasta with a handful of employees, and Remo Borracchini is busy running an Italian Bakery. The story is the same across Washington State and across the nation: Businesses are fighting every day to service customers, treat employees well, and simply stay open. Joe Salvatore在华盛顿州西雅图市经营一家叫做“回收站”的回收企业,雇佣了大约20人。不远处,Bobby Denovski正惨淡经营着“帕记披萨和意粉”店,雇有少量员工。而Remo Borracchini则在为经营一家名为“意大利烘焙”的小店而上下奔波。这种故事在华盛顿州和整个美国都很普遍:为了服务顾客、善待雇员以及仅仅是保持开业,企业每天都在奋斗。 Unfortunately in the city of Seattle, it is about to get much more difficult for business owners to continue the fight. Pushed forward primarily by socialist city councilwoman Kshama Sawant, the first phase of a new minimum wage law went into effect on April 1, 2015, and the law will eventually bring all businesses to a $15 minimum wage, more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. 不幸地是,在西雅图市,企业主想要继续奋斗下去,将来会变得更加艰难。主要由信奉社会主义的女市议员Kshama Sawant推动的新最低工资法已于2015年4月1日进入第一阶段的实施,并最终将对所有企业实行15美元最低工资标准,相当于将目前时薪7.25美元的联邦最低工资翻了一倍以上。 The law is a graduated system with different pay scales and timelines for businesses above and below 500 employees. For businesses with 501 employees or more, the April 1, 2015 minimum wage was set at $11 an hour. For the next two years, on January 1 of each year, the wage increases, rising from the current $11 per hour to $13, reaching $15 an hour on January 1, 2018. 新法建立的是一个分级制度,对于雇员超过和低于(及等于)500人的企业分别设立了不同的工资标准和时间表。对于雇有501或更多雇员的企业,2015年4月1日开始最低工资是时薪11美元。在接下来的两年内,每年1月1日提一次工资,从现在的时薪11美元提到13美元,到2018年1月1日实现时薪15美元。 For companies paying at least $1.50 per hour toward a silver level medical benefits plan, the minimum wage goes to $12.50 on January 1 of 2016, then $13.50 in 2017, and finally $15 an hour in January of 2018. As stated on Seattle’s website seattle.gov, “Once Seattle’s minimum wage reaches $15.00/hour, payments toward medical benefits no longer impact employees’ minimum wage.” 如果企业每小时至少帮员工支付1.5美元给白银级医疗福利计划,那么它们的最低工资从2016年1月1日开始将是12.5美元,2017年是13.5美元,最终到2018年1月达到15美元。西雅图市的网站seattle.gov上称:“一旦西雅图的最低工资达到15美元每小时,那么医疗福利付费就不会再影响雇员的最低工资标准。” On April 1, 2015, small-business wages were set at $11 an hour as well. For companies at or below the 500-employee mark, the $15 minimum wage is set to be phased in over the course of the next decade. Again, counting medical benefits and other factors such as tips, the total compensation varies. By the year 2021, the minimum wage will be $15 with tips and health insurance factored in, and in 2025, small businesses must meet the $15 minimum wage without credit for tips or insurance. 2015年4月1日起,小企业的工资也被设定为时薪11美元。对于雇员数量在500名或更少的公司,最低工资标准将在接下来的10年内逐步施行。同样,把医疗福利和其他因素如小费算在内,总工资也会不同。到2021年,把小费和健康保险算在内,最低工资将是15美元,而到2025年,小企业必须符合刨除小费或保险后15美元的最低工资标准。 President Obama has repeatedly urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. For this reason it would behoove those across the nation to pay special attention to the city of Seattle. Seattle is tucked away in the northwestern corner of the nation; however, as the city squeezes its businesses for more and more money, it may become ground zero for the minimum wage fight. 奥巴马总统已经反复敦促国会将联邦最低工资从时薪7.25美元提升至时薪10.10美元。因此之故,全美理应特别关注西雅图市。西雅图深藏于美国的西北角落,不过,随着这座城市从其企业身上不断榨取越来越多的钱财,它可能成为最低工资之战的引爆点。 Reasons for the Law 立法理由 Since being first enacted in 1928, the idea of a “minimum wage” has been sold as a law that will benefit the poorest sectors of our society. According to Cornell Law School, “The minimum wage was designed to create a minimum standard of living to protect the health and well-being of employees.” 自1928年首次创设为法律以来,“最低工资”概念就被作为一种有利于社会中贫困群体的法律向大众兜售。根据康奈尔大学法学院的说法,“设计最低工资是为了制定一种最低生活水平,以保障雇员的健康和福利。” Likewise, from the city of Seattle’s own website we find, “Citywide minimum wage laws offer local governments a powerful tool for helping low-income workers and families in their communities. Such measures also have significant impact on businesses and how they operate.” Minimum wage advocates have held that it is possible to set a minimum pay scale and have no ill effect on jobs. 同样,我们也能从西雅图市自己的网站上看到,“全市范围内的最低工资法,能给地方政府提供一种强大工具,以帮助各自社区中的低收入工人和家庭。这种措施也将对企业及其运营方式产生巨大影响。”最低工资的鼓吹者历来相信,设定一种最低工资标准而不对就业产生任何不良影响是可能的。 Operating under the assumption that simply raising the minimum wage will guarantee said wage, the people pushing for the $15 minimum wage claim that it has the power to lift the poor to that “new standard of living.” Is this true? Will it indeed lift the needy in our communities to another level, or is it a false assumption, one that will cause irreparable damage to business and industry? 依着“简单地将最低工资标准提升一下就能实现这一工资收入”的假定行事,那些争取15美元最低工资的人就此宣称,这一标准有能力将穷人提升到“新的生活水平”。这是真的吗?它真的能将我们社区中的贫困人口提升一个水平?还是说这是个错误的假设,将会对企业和实业造成不可弥补的伤害? Asking the Businesses 问问企业 Several business owners in Seattle were kind enough to give their own opinions of Seattle’s minimum wage law and explain how it will have a negative impact not only on their businesses, but on those people it was designed to help. 承蒙西雅图一些企业主的好意,向我们表达了他们对西雅图最低工资法的个人看法,并解释了它会如何产生负面影响,而这种负面影响不仅仅会作用于他们自己的企业,而且会作用于立法本来意图帮助的那些人。 Walter McLaughlin has been in Small Business Administration (SBA) lending for 27 years. He won the Washington State Financial Services Champion award in 2005. Concerning the minimum wage law in Seattle, McLaughlin said in an e-mail statement: Walter McLaughlin已在“小企业管理局”(SBA)借贷项目工作了27年。他于2005年获得了“华盛顿州金融服务冠军”的称号。关于西雅图的最低工资法,McLaughlin在一份电邮声明中说:
In economics, there is a principal called “zero sum gain” in which an increase is offset by a loss of equal amount. When a small business (and per the SBA’s size standards, over 99% of U.S. companies qualify as small) sees its operating costs increase, it has three options: 1) absorb the cost, 2) raise prices or 3) lower expenses. Since businesses don’t operate with the intention of losing money, the irony of a drastic increase in the minimum wage is that in order for employers to adjust, the net effect may be higher inflation and unemployment, disproportionately hurting the very same group the $15 minimum wage was intended to help. 在经济学中,有个原理叫做‘零和受益’,其中增加值被等量的损失所抵消。如果一家小企业(按照SBA的规模标准,美国超过99%的公司算小企业)的运营成本上升,它就面临三个选项:1)承担这一成本,2)提高价格,或者3)降低开支。由于企业运营的目的并不是为了损失金钱,所以最低工资急剧提升的反讽在于,雇主为了实现调整,最终净效果可能是通胀升高及失业率升高,这对于15美元最低工资标准意图帮助的那个群体损害相对更大。
McLaughlin lays out three ways in which the new Seattle minimum wage law will play out as it’s implemented: a loss to the business owner (absorb the cost), a cost to the general public (raise prices), or a reduction in expenses (possible job loss). McLaughlin提出了西雅图最低工资新法实施之后最终将走向的三种路径:企业主出现损失(承担成本),一般公众的损失(提高价格),或者削减开支(可能出现工作岗位流失)。 A Loss to the Business Owner 企业主出现损失 For those people who have never run a business, the absorption of the additional cost may seem to be the easiest and most straightforward solution to the requirement to pay employees more. But contrary to what those who have never had the experience of sitting down with a company’s balance sheets might think, all business owners are not jet-setting CEOs with profits just flowing in. 对于从未经营过任何企业的人来说,为了达到支付雇员更高工资的要求,由企业承担额外成本似乎是最简单、最直接的解决办法。但与这些从未看过任何一个公司财务收支表的人所想的相反,并非所有企业主都是乘坐直升机的CEO,利润滚滚而来。 At The Recycling Depot, general manager Joe Salvatore stated, “What these people don’t take into consideration is that when you raise the wage, you’re raising the Labor and Industries Insurance cost because that amount is affected by the wages. I have already talked to several small businesses in the area and there’s not a single one who is making tons and tons of money where they’re just going to be able to absorb these costs.” “回收站”的总经理Joe Salvatore说,“这些人没有考虑到,如果提高工资,你还会提高劳动和工业保险成本,因为后者会受工资影响。我已经和本地区的数家小企业谈过,没有一家是在成吨成吨地赚钱,没有一家能够直接承担这些成本。” In other words, while the absorption of minor costs may be a normal and constant part of running a business, the bottom line is a major factor. At Padrino’s Pizza and Pasta, Bobby Denovski echoed Salvatore’s sentiment: “We aren’t a large company with huge profits. As a small business the cost of labor is one of the main factors. Fifteen dollars an hour, that’s a lot of money to ask from a small business.” 换句话说,尽管运营一家企业时,承受并消化小量的成本可能是个司空见惯、总在发生的事,但盈亏底线是个主要的因素。“帕记披萨和意粉”店的Bobby Denovski呼应了Salvatore的观点:“我们不是那种利润巨大的大公司。对于小企业来说,主要因素之一就是劳工成本。15美元一小时,这种要价对于小企业来说可是一大笔钱。” When asked what effect he could foresee the escalating minimum wage law having on his business, Denovski commented, “It could put us all out looking for jobs. We have a couple more years paying on the loan for our restaurant. If we end up paying this $15 an hour, we are honestly in danger of losing it.” 当被问及不断升级的最低工资法将来会对其生意产生何种影响时,Denovski评论说,“我们可能都会被迫出去找工作了。我们的餐馆还有几年贷款需要还。如果最终我们需要支付15美元的时薪,我们真的可能会失去餐馆。” Likewise, The Recycling Depot, as a metals recycling business, is subject to sometimes-dramatic market fluctuations. Metal values can skyrocket, allowing ample room to treat employees well, and values can plummet, leaving the business struggling to survive. Said Salvatore of the times when the market is up, “We do take care of our employees during those times. We give bonuses and things like that. However what about the lean times? This is going to have a dramatic effect on us during the lean times. You can’t just start taking the pay away.” 同样,从事金属回收生意的“回收站”也承受着市场波动,时不时还非常剧烈。金属价格可能飙升,此时企业就有足够的空间来更好对待员工,但价格也可能跳水,那样企业就只能竭力求生。谈及市场向好的时候,Salvatore说,“那种时候我们确实会照顾自己的员工。我们提供奖金等类似东西。但生意差的时候呢?在生意差的时候,这会给我们造成巨大的影响。减少支出都来不及。” A Cost to the General Public 一般公众的损失 If costs cannot be simply absorbed by the company, another option is to raise the price of the product. Bobby Denovski stated, “The only thing I can do is to raise the prices. I worry that the demand for pizza in the community will not support the prices we will have to go to when the wages go up.” How much is a pizza worth to those in his community? How about a gallon of milk? Those claiming the minimum wage will have no ill effect on the community should be asking themselves these questions, because at some point most small business owners such as Denovski must find a way to recoup these costs. 如果成本不能简单地由企业承担,还有一个选项就是提高产品价格。Bobby Denovski称,“我唯一能做就是提高价格。如果工资上涨,我们就必须抬高价位,我担心我所在社区的披萨需求不足以支持我们的这种要价。”在他的社区,一份披萨应该要价多少?一加仑牛奶呢?那些声称最低工资不会对社区产生不良影响的人应当问问自己这些问题,因为到了某个时候,绝大多数小企业主,如Denovski一样,都会想办法转移这些成本。 Referring again to fluctuating values in the metals market, Salvatore stated, “We’re very dependent on the global prices of metals. When the metal values drop, we’re making less money and our margins shrink. During times like this there are a lot of businesses just trying to stay afloat.” And so he is forced to try to pass on the costs in another manner. Salvatore再一次谈及金属市场的波动价格:“我们对全球金属价格有很大的依赖。金属价格下跌时,我们赚的钱就减少,利润收缩。碰到这种时候,大量的企业只是谋求维持下去。”所以他将被迫以另一种方式把成本传递出去。 As a metals recycling business, The Recycling Depot purchases metals from other businesses and from the general public, then sells those metals based on current market prices. Because Salvatore has no control over the sale price (dictated by global supply and demand), the only thing he can do is to drop the prices he is paying the public for those metals, illustrating the second point (a cost to the public) in another light. 从事金属回收行业的“回收站”从别的企业及一般公众手里收购金属,然后依照当前市场价格将这些金属卖出。由于Salvatore没有办法控制销售价格(它由全球供给和全球需求决定),他唯一能做的就是压低他支付给公众的金属收购价格,这从另一个方面说明了我们提出的第二点(公众的损失)。 Lower Expenses 降低开支 Absent the ability to absorb the higher wages or pass on the costs to someone else, a third way to compensate is to lower expenses. On the surface this sounds harmless enough. However, it often means the disappearance of jobs. 要是没有能力承担更高的工资或将成本传递给其他人,那么还有第三种弥补办法,那就是降低开支。表面看来这种做法相当无害。但是,它通常意味着工作岗位消失。 At Borracchini’s Bakery in Seattle, a business that has been open for 94 years, Remo Borracchini has a long history of hiring youth. “I myself have probably hired 1,500 young people over the years. I have had people come here as teenagers and stay here as much as 25 years, so they came and learned a trade,” said Borracchini. 西雅图的“博记烘焙”是一家已经开业94年的企业,店主Remo Borracchini 历来喜欢雇佣年轻人。“多年以来,我本人可能雇佣了1500个年轻人。我手下有些人,来的时候还是个少年,然后就在这工作了25年。他们来我这里,学会了一门生意”,Borrachini这样说道。 He has brought in high-school students who have never worked a job and started them washing pots and pans, stocking shelves, and mopping floors. While the wages many of these new hires make is not a large sum, Borracchini sees a bigger picture: 他曾招过一些从未干过任何工作的高中生,让他们从刷盘子洗碗、装货架、拖地开始干起。尽管这些新进员工所赚取的工资并不多,Borracchini看到的却是一幅更大的图景:
It’s not that we’re just looking for cheap labor. It’s the understanding that you’re doing something for these young people other than sending them out to wander aimlessly through the neighborhoods. You see, I do believe we have a responsibility to our young people. There used to be internships throughout industry. Now that has changed. 并不是说我们只是为了找些廉价劳工。我们的理解是,你是在帮这些年轻人做点什么事,没有让他们在社区中没头没脑地游窜。跟你说,我确实相信我们对年轻人负有责任。过去,各行各业都有实习。现在事情发生了变化。 They used to go into places like print shops, or bakeries and come to begin learning a trade; that was their reimbursement, they were learning something that would benefit them throughout their life. Now they’ve passed a law saying they have to be paid a wage. So what happens? If you’re going to have to pay someone who doesn’t know anything, you might as well pay someone who already knows something. 过去,他们要去文印店或面包店等类似地方,开始学习一门行当;那相当于他们的回报,他们是在学习某种将会受益终身的东西。现在有人制定一条法律,说是必须给他们支付工资。那会发生什么呢?如果有人啥都不懂,你也必须要支付他工资,那你还不如向那些懂点什么的人支付工资。
Continued Borracchini, Borracchini继续说,
Businesses like McDonald’s, they built their empire not on a philosophy of it being a high paying job, but to take kids who have never worked before, teach them a little bit about work ethic and how to perform, and they move on to better opportunities when they have shown they have a bit of ability. You’ll begin to see the order screens in every type of McDonald’s scenario. Look at the jobs they’re eliminating right there. Kids who would be learning to show up for work on time, learning how to interact with the public, how to have a bit of work ethic. 像麦当劳这种企业帝国,它的建基哲学并不是它之作为一种高薪职位,而是它招募此前从未工作过的人,教给他们一点工作伦理和如何履职,然后当他们表现出具备一定能力时,就能前进一步,迈向更好的机会。以后你会看到各式各样的麦当劳式情景,大家都开始用点菜屏。看看他们正在消灭的工作。孩子们本来可以学会按时上班,学会如何与公众打交道,如何具备一点工作伦理。
Salvatore echoed Borracchini, stating that in order to recoup labor costs, jobs would almost certainly be cut, “at least cutting hours back if not completely doing away with jobs. The well is not bottomless.” Salvatore呼应了Borrachini,并说,为了弥补劳工成本,工作岗位几乎肯定会被削减,“如果不是彻底废除岗位,至少需要减少雇佣时长。井中的水毕竟是有限的。” At Padrino’s, a clearly concerned Denovski stated, “Right now it’s [the minimum wage] at $11 an hour and it is already difficult for me and my partner to keep the bills paid and the employees paid. They’re going to be raising that expense up to $15, but none of our other costs will be going down. I honestly don’t know what we’re going to do.” “帕记”的Denovski明显很是担心,他说,“现在的最低工资是时薪11美元,而我和我的合伙人已经感到难以偿付账单、支付员工工资。他们还要将这一开支提高到15美元,而我们的其他成本都不会降低。我真的不知道我们有什么办法。” Salvatore then commented on a worst-case scenario, “Eventually we have to tighten the ropes, and then what happens when there’s nothing left in the reserve?” Indeed, what does happen? What happens to the low-skill workers looking for a job? Where will the teenager or young adult go for training when McDonald’s has automated order screens? As Borracchini said, “It is the internship and low-skill jobs which will be cut. We will have sent them back out onto the street.” 然后,Salvatore就最坏的情形作了评论,“最终我们必须拉紧裤腰带,如果没有剩下任何储备,那会发生什么呢?”确实,会发生什么呢?对于那些找工作的低技术工人,会发生什么呢?当麦当劳开始用自动点菜屏时,少年或刚刚成年的人们要去哪里接受训练?正如Borracchini所说,“被削减的会是那些实习岗位和低技术岗位。我们将不得不把他们送回街上。” Help or Harm? 帮助还是伤害? Seattle businesses obviously view the new minimum wage law with quite a bit of trepidation. It is easy to see why. These companies will have to find a way to recuperate the costs one way or another. No matter how it ends up happening, it will be a detriment to the community and the city. 西雅图的企业显然正以相当程度的恐惧看待最低工资新法。很容易发现原因所在。这些公司都必须寻找各种办法来弥补成本。不管最终会发生什么,它对于社区和整个城市都是一种损害。 In “The Tax & Budget Bulletin” by The Cato Institute dated March 2014, Joseph J. Sabia, associate professor of economics at San Diego State University, explains how a minimum wage affects the poor’s standard of living and employment opportunities: 在加图研究所2014年3月的“税收与预算简报”中,圣迭戈州立大学的经济学副教授Joseph J. Sabia就最低工资会如何影响穷人的生活水平和就业机会作出了解释:
The bulletin concludes that minimum wage increases almost always fail to meet proponents’ policy objectives and often hurt precisely the vulnerable populations that advocates wish to help. The weight of the science suggests that policymakers should abandon higher minimum wages as an antiquated anti-poverty tool. Minimum wages deter employment and are poorly targeted to those in need. 简报的结论是,提高最低工资几乎总是不能实现其支持者的政策目标,而且通常都会恰好伤害到鼓吹者们想要帮助的脆弱群体。科学表明,决策者们应当放弃提高最低工资这种早已过时的反贫困工具。最低工资伤害就业,而且对于身处困境的人们来说真是南辕北辙。
His words echo the business owners quoted here. Says Borracchini, “I can sympathize with someone who is trying to raise a family. Fifteen dollars is not a lot of money. It’s very difficult. However, there is an element of society who through laws like this are being denied a great privilege. The opportunity to learn how to work.” 他的言论正与我们此处所引企业主的言论互相呼应。Borracchini说,“有人要努力养活一家人,这我能够同情。15美元并不是很大一笔钱。世事艰难。但是,通过这种法律,社会中有一部分人将无法享有一项重要的权利。那就是学会如何工作的机会。” The bottom line is that the minimum wage law was supposedly created to help the poor and needy in our society. However, it is the low-skill and poor who will feel the effect first and foremost, and who will find it much more difficult to acquire the job skills needed to raise the value of their labor to or above the minimum wage. 这里的底线是,最低工资法的创设,本意是为了帮助我们社会中的穷人和急需帮助的人群。但是,首当其冲感受到其影响的就是低技术人口和贫困人口,他们将发现,要将自己的劳动价值提高到或超过最低工资,就必须获得工作技能,而这将变得比以前更难。 As voices cry ever louder for an increased federal minimum wage, the stories of small businesses across the nation need to be brought into the spotlight — businesses reaching out to unskilled youth willing to put in time training. Companies managing a tight bottom line can’t handle the extra expense of yet another increase in wages. 随着提高联邦最低工资的呼声与日俱增,有必要将全美小企业的故事带到台前——这些企业都在向那些技能不足但愿意花时间接受训练的年轻人敞开双臂。盈亏底线很紧张的公司没有办法应对未来工资再次上涨所带来的额外开支。 The heart of our nation does not lie within the halls of Congress but rather in the bakeries, pizza shops, recycling centers, and myriad other small businesses. It is not in the backroom deals between politicians where the effects of these laws will be felt, but rather in the checking accounts of struggling businesses. 我们民族的心脏并不位于国会的办公大楼里,而是位于各家烘焙店、披萨店、回收中心以及种种其他小企业中。要感受到这些法律的效果,不是去看政客之间的暗箱交易,而需要去看艰难度日的各家企业的存款账户。 (编辑:辉格@whigzhou) *注:本译文未经原作者授权,本站对原文不持有也不主张任何权利,如果你恰好对原文拥有权益并希望我们移除相关内容,请私信联系,我们会立即作出响应。

——海德沙龙·翻译组,致力于将英文世界的好文章搬进中文世界——



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