Even before COVID shut down global commerce, area businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry, were competing with each other by upping pay and other benefits to attract and retain reliable workers.

If workers were demanding and getting more pay, it was the product of the free market — supply and demand in its purist form. Labor often is the biggest cost of doing business and operators have to adjust wages or fall behind.

 Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com.

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(10) comments

Charlotte O'rourke

Hmm. Every argument given could be used in the same way against government subsiding businesses against businesses that received no subsidy.

It’s sad that some chambers pressured the government to take others’ benefits without a true understanding of an individual’s circumstances.

I believe business would be better served by trying to obtain WILLING workers through the normal means instead of trying to force workers that may not be able to return for a variety of reasons.

Even though I’ve seen first hand the issues with not enough restaurant staff, I hate the thought of low income workers being forced into a one size fits all governmental employment philosophy!

Norman Pappous

It's called the 'crowding out' effect. And it also holds true for government subsidized housing and so-called economic development.

Craig Mason

Laura you missed one other option for folks still receiving benefits. Some have found a job and accepted employment offers and are waiting on a start date that is 3 or 4 weeks away. The hiring companies justification for the wait is to give all of the new employees they are going to hire, a common start date. This way the business can onboard and train all of the new employees at once instead of doing it one or two at a time. In the meantime the job seeker who is still receiving unemployment benefits, has to deal with losing the 300 dollar federal benefit. Are they supposed to look for another job in the meantime and then quit when they start their desired job? There are all kinds of unforeseen situations that are not being taken into account by governor Abbott.

Norman Pappous

"There are all kinds of unforeseen situations that are not being taken into account by governor Abbott."

You misspelled "Biden".

Craig Mason

you misspelled your last name, I think its supposed to be "Pompous"

David Hardee

The article by Laura covered all the ramifications with a balance giving the readers sufficient info to arrive at a conclusion, themselves. A serious contemplation of the pros and cons that takes into consideration the results at this time and conditions is almost obvious that the Federal government is NOT the entity that can construct a universal product that is competent in all locations and for every individual. That prerogative should be made at the lowest level - the local constabulary. .

Historically the proof exists that all the thrust of the Federal into social engineering has been a failure. It was never the intent of the constitution to unleash the power of the fed into society. Repetitively and constantly the biggest fear was the overarching of the Fed. Shoe horn by "civil rights" the Fed tentacles are now into even the society sexual preference, abortion, hosing, wages and the language is being re-imagined. Nothing is safe and the country is in chaos because of the intrusion of the fed..

More media reporting like Laura's article would at least give citizens the ability to comprehend what is the intent and results of the FEDERAL dominated progressive liberals.

Media purity could restore the mores and morals of a nation on the verge of total corruption.

Thanks Laura - even though some are indoctrinated so severely that they criticize some elements of your extremely well issued information, keep up the good work.

George Laiacona

We who pay attention as to what government is doing know that businesses as well as employees are receiving government funding. So why limit the negative comments towards employees only. Small businesses receiving government funds received much more than unemployment benefits. The unemployment benefits will soon run out. Servers will return to work, but will they receive paychecks above $15.00 per hour?

Stuart Crouch

The ugly head of greed rises once again. Chambers of Commerce are, without a doubt, pro-business; underscored, as of late, by their position on the pandemic shut-downs and this little gem of advocating for maintaining low wages. Placing profits and enterprise above the humane treatment, health and concerns of the citizenry gives them purpose and a reason for being, I guess.

Not to be overlooked in all of this is that newspapers, which garner substantial advertising dollars from their local businesses, form a relationship that makes it difficult to make too many pointed arguments for things that are contrary to the business' interest and well-being.

Long story, short is that there is much more to this than meets the eye. Ms. Elder's editorial touches on a number of the salient points of this issue, though she tends to elaborate on one side of the argument, while glossing over the other. Such are the liberties of it being an 'opinion' piece.

Certain industries are renown for paying substandard wages to their employees, and the island and this county have their share of them. They are allowed to do this because the law allows it. The law allows it because of who is able to influence and shape what those laws will allow. So when anyone tries to assert that it's a "free-market" and 'free-enterprise" system, do know that it's only "free" with a little help from that "government" that Ms. Elder erroneously believes is "competing" with the businesses. It was a worthy effort on her part to try and defend the paper's 'hand that feeds' but to dig a bit deeper reveals that her argument rings a bit hollow.

The problem is not unemployment benefits; the issue is businesses not being required, nor having interest to pay a living wage. This has been a problem for years upon years and a simple examination of the progress (or lack thereof) of our minimum wage makes it painfully obvious and easy to identify where the issue lay.

I won't get into the issues of just whom this practice tends to negatively impact and disparage more so than others, but suffice to say that it's one more reason why the issue lay not with the labor side of the equation. Folks on this end of the income spectrum tend to spend their money on basic needs to stay alive; food, shelter and transportation - which is to say that their dollars are directly reinvested in the local economy. However many millions of dollars (and it is a lot of 'millions') that Governor Abbott and his bunch just said 'no' to, will go bye-bye and no longer be infused into the various economic systems across the state. These were/are federal monies that could have supported our local economies; the very bunch that's crying 'foul' on the government.

Even if this article held a legitimate argument about the culpability of our government disallowing the adequate staffing of local businesses, I will give the workers credit for realizing that if the choices are between getting paid crumbs to work and toil only so that a business owner can make money off the backs of intentionally underpaid employees, or to stay home and enjoy as much, if not more income and not worry about things like childcare, transportation and contracting Covid-19, the choice is quite simple. To be fair, I do realize and have personal knowledge of a limited number of quite successful business owners that share in the wealth by ensuring that their employees are fairly considered and compensated. By doing this, they create a win-win situation; employees are taken care of in the form of wages, benefits and other working conditions, the service is good and the business thrives as a result.

For businesses to collude among themselves to keep wages low has proven 'successful' as a business model in some industries, the resultant discontented employees, turnover rates and poor service are the product. You get what you pay for. The idea that a business owner expects to be able to offer 'scraps' to 'the help' so that they may profit well enough to fund new furniture for the beach house or acquire a new set of Jet Skis, only underscores the imbalance of this relationship.

I doubt many are fooled by the arguments made in this article, but some do value what is reported as 'news' these days and they might not realize that an 'editorial' isn't bound exclusively to factual reporting. There is much more to this issue than the simplistic belief that is suggested in this opinion piece. While there are several available, I have included one article (below) that better explains some of the complexities and motives associated with this issue.

https://www.salon.com/2021/05/19/how-the-business-lobby-created-the-labor-shortage-myth--and-gop-used-it-to-slash-benefits/

Diane Turski

Child care is often an essential need in order for parents to return to work. Perhaps more businesses should offer child care for their employees as a benefit. I suspect they would have an abundance of loyal workers if they did that.

Jim Forsythe

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/smallbusiness/a-pittsburgh-ice-cream-shop-couldn-t-find-staff-then-it-doubled-its-wage-to-15-and-was-flooded-with-applications/ar-AAKcGbZ?ocid=msedgntp

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