LETTER TO THE EDITOR
By Ellie Kinnaird
Not to continue to beat a dead horse — I promise this will be my last comment on the subject of Buc-ee’s — but I write because this happens over and over in Orange County.
One of the objections to the application was that while Buc-ee’s pays $15 an hour, most of the jobs are part-time. Easy to say if you are a person who lives comfortably and securely and knows when your next pay check comes in. But I invite that critic to look at the perspective of one who is not so fortunate.
If you are homeless and living in your car, part-time is better than nothing. Or if you are a homeless parent living with a child in your car, that really is an irrelevant argument. (For those who think there is no homeless problem in Orange County, in 2019 the average length of time of homelessness was 340 days.)
The way to force Buc-ee’s to change its labor policy is through political action. Worker advocates working with real workers to effect action. That is how Amazon was forced to pay its employees $15 an hour. It was how Walmart was forced to increase the pay of its employees. The family living in their car have no political power and just need money coming in for food and daily living.
Frankly, it’s up to those who criticize the policy to get out there and do the hard work to change Buc-ee’s policy. It has worked before and it can work again. Denying the homeless family living in their car a job is not the answer.
Ellie has always shown us the way to improve our thinking and society. Her clear thinking and willingness to speak out should inspire us all.
Yes, such action will likely result in higher wages for some, but we know from research, including the recent CBO study, that raising the minimum wage through political action will result in significantly fewer jobs. This has been understood at least since Adam Smith wrote, “The Wealth of Nations”. The best way to raise wages is to adopt policies of lower taxes and reduced regulation that will encourage business growth. We have seen this work in North Carolina since 2010, and we saw it work for 3 years under the T*** administration. I am too angry with his write his name, but those national policies produced just the outcomes you and I want.
I really appreciate your comments and the perspectives you are bringing to this issue.