jd timberland boots despite Notley NDP attempts
Hello Premier Notley,
It been awhile since I last reached out, just over a year to be more precise. I first reached out two years ago to share with you my story, and my perspective on your proposed minimum wage increase, and the impact it would have on me as a new small business owner.
Well, I pleased to share that despite your efforts I have managed to keep the doors to my small neighbourhood restaurant open for nearly two years now.
We are doing well, we have been well received by the community and our sales continue to climb, despite a sluggish economy. We even have a respectable bottom line, well, respectable for the restaurant industry.
It meant more sacrifice than I thought possible. Still some two years later I find myself at work six days a week, trying to play catch up on the seventh. Last week alone I spent nearly eighty hours in my business, seventy of which was on my feet, and more than fifty of which was with a knife in my hand, cooking.
The hours and the commitment have taken their toll on my body, my mind and my spirit. They have put a strain on my family life and have left me feeling a world of guilt for missing a great deal of my daughter precious milestones.
I not sharing that for pity. I knew what I was getting into, and I really do love what I do. I am proud of what we have accomplished and it doesn feel like work to be caring for our guests.
Here we are again though, only a few weeks away from yet another wage hike. This time the rate will increase another $1.40 an hour for minimum wage employees, which accounts for 40% of my workforce.
While many outsiders will look at me as a selfish business owner who wants to nickel and dime his people, I want to make it clear that the reality couldn be farther from the truth.
I am frustrated with this plan because you are forcing my hand, as a business owner to give raises to the only two groups of people in my business who don require a raise.
The first group of people is our dishwashers. These are all high school students, living in their parents houses, having nothing but maybe a cell phone bill to pay.
These kids don need to make $120 to work an eight hour shift. They need some pocket money for hanging out at the mall with their friends.
The second group of people getting a raise is our service staff. While the server at the neighbourhood coffee shop may need the extra $1.40 an hour, I can tell you that the server averaging $150 a day in tips could care less about the extra $9 on their paycheck for every six hour shift they work.
In fact, many of the seasoned veterans in the business fear that increasing the minimum wage will impact their tips, as the uninformed consumer assumes that these employees are now earning a living wage, thus leaving them less tips.
Let me be clear when I say I very much value my service staff, and want them to be well looked after. Saying that, I know that each and every one of them is fairly rewarded for their work.
Who really needs this money? Cooks, that who. While most servers have a decent home, drive a fairly reliable car, work about thirty hours a week, and have more than enough disposable income to spend freely, cooks are struggling to get by.
Most of my kitchen team can afford a car. They rely on public transportation, sometimes taking up to two hours to make it to work. If they can afford a vehicle, it most often an old jalopy, hanging on by a thread.
They work 10 12 hours a day, trying to make enough money to keep the lights on and a little food in the fridge. I recently had a sit down with one of my cooks who didn seem like he was his usual self.
After some chatting he confessed that he battled depression and was struggling to afford his medication. He is a single dad, trying to support his daughter and do the right thing.
It broke my heart to hear that he was forced to make the decision between putting food on the table or take care of his health. That on me as a leader to try to fix, for him, and for my entire team, but it would be nice to have the funds to give a hard working person like him a raise.
Instead, you forced my hand, reached into my business to make that decision for me, as if you better understand how to operate it than I do. I have news for you. You don worry though, we will find a way to take care of our people. We will keep the doors open. We might even grow and expand, all that despite the efforts of your party, and your pal in Ottawa, who both seem to want to stifle small businesses.
In 2012 small business owners employed 35 per cent of all employees in the private sector in Alberta. Those businesses contributed 27 per cent of the province GDP, and yet it feels like no one is listening to us, so we are left to fend for ourselves.
Every day I put my all into my business, and the risk I take provides a livelihood for thirty people, a livelihood they wouldn have if it weren for the risk takers of the world.
As I said, we will go on, and we will continue to thrive, despite your attempts, and we will only be that much stronger for it. So for that, I thank you.
Shall we say same time next year? For what I can only presume will be our last in the series of pen pal letters? Only seems fair since you not very good at writing back.