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62% of ECPs Don’t Support Raising the Minimum Wage … Despite Often Already Paying More

do you or don't you: The other 38% are fierce supporters of what they deem a more livable wage.

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Question

Do you or don’t you support raising the minimum wage nationally to $15?

Yes: 38%

  • We already start employees above this. We may consider raising our starting wage some, but we could take it to make sure that our employees were making a good living wage. — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • The wage doesn’t affect me as I have no employees, but the raise would help attract more serious workers who would be more dedicated to their jobs. — Mitchell Kaufman, Marine Park Family Vision, Brooklyn, NY
  • It will be a challenge but people should be paid fairly. If everyone had more money I could raise prices as well. — Adam Ramsey, OD, Socialite Vision, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • I don’t think it would present a challenge to our business. We have some employees currently making that amount or higher. — Danielle Doniver, Heritage Optical, Detroit, MI
  • It wouldn’t so much be a challenge to the business as the need to raise the more advanced people’s salaries as well would be. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA
  • Most of my employees are there or close to but raising everyone in proportion to minimum wage will be challenging. However, I know when people have enough money to afford essentials like rent and food, they will spend more freely on businesses like mine. We saw this with the stimulus checks during the pandemic. It can only help us all to have less people below the poverty line. — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN
  • Fair is fair. — Steve Burek, Metro Eye, Milwaukee, WI
  • Yes, it will be a challenge, but this is a challenging occupation with constant changes. The vast majority of my staff makes more than $15, however, trying to explain to a long-time employee why they are only making a few dollars more than a new employee will be difficult, as well as continuing to see vision plans that pay us the same amount as they did 25 years ago. Increase fees a long with letters to all the vision plans who have not increased their reimbursement to providers in decades, demanding an increase in fees, otherwise face elimination from our practice! — Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
  • Minimum wage usually equals minimal effort unfortunately. Quality candidates cost money. Our lowest paid employee with no previous experience is at over $16/hour starting. I pay more than a living wage and help out in any way I can because I want my employees to worry about how to grow my business, and not their personal finances. By paying them fairly they are able to do this. — Jason Klepfisz, OD, Urban Eye Care, Phoenix, AZ
  • You need to get people back into the workplace. All of my business owner friends are struggling to find help. We have to raise our prices to meet the rising wages, no other way to do it. — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • Wages in my area already well above $15 for most full-time work. — Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL
  • I value opticians and pay them what they are worth which is way above minimum wage. — Todd Lapointe, VIP EYES, Portland, ME
  • My practice is located in a part of the country where $15 remains a barely livable wage. We already pay everyone on staff well over that threshold because, if we didn’t, it would be impossible to attract and retain talent. Lowering the price for your services doesn’t create higher demand for the same. Charge what you need to and reduce non-productive labor overhead but pay people enough that they can survive. — Rebecca Furuta, Avenue Vision, Golden, CO
  • Money is always a challenge in any business, but so is turnover. If your employees feel compensated for their hard work, it is a lot easier to make more money with an experienced staff then saving a few pennies. Turnover can kill your business. — Sherry Morgan, Logan Eye Care, Lake Mary, FL
  • It’s important to pay your staff a wage that allows them to live a good life. Not supporting critical change like this is irresponsible to the communities we all thrive in. — Harris Decker, Eye Designs of Westchester, Scarsdale, NY

No: 62%

  • Instant inflation and many businesses pay close to that or more anyway. Help wanted signs at retail and some fast food are advertising $14-$16/hour. No one pays minimum wage. — Betsy Brockett, Zionsville Eyecare, Zionsville, IN
  • Because in effect that is inflationary and then the ripple will mean my increase to patients again will be needed. I feel comfortable with slow and slower increases to let the economy absorb it in a timely manner. — Ken Weiner, OD, Livingston, NJ
  • I think that raising it will just increase the cost of everything which will in turn make us raise our prices. Does not seem to make sense to me. — Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, CO
  • Small businesses are already struggling as it is and raising the minimum wage hurts even more. My paid wages are significantly higher than minimum wage in my state but I reserve the right to do that and leaving that autonomy to the business owner is vital. — Alissa Irons, OD, BLINK, Albuquerque, NM
  • Pay exceeds minimum wage – better pay, better co-workers, better service, fewer headaches. — Steve Whitaker, Whitaker Eye Works, Wayne, PA
  • I think that will make it hard for small businesses to stay in business. I prefer paying a more affordable wage and adding incentives/bonuses to increase production. — Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH
  • The problem is that when the lower wage workers get a boost of $15, the $23 an hour workers will also need raises to keep it equitable. — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • It definitely needs to be higher than it is but $15 feels high on a theoretical level. We pay enough that $15/hour isn’t threatening to us, per se, it is more the general concept of things. Do high school baggers really merit being paid $15/hour? Are we ready for the inflation that would bring on … especially given the current inflation and pricing turmoil already going on? — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • Raising the minimum wage means more unemployment and more small businesses closing. Haven’t we had enough of that in the past year or so? — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • I feel we as skilled professionals made an extraordinary effort to become educated and develop a skill that allows us to be where we are. To hand a higher wage to an unskilled job holder is an insult for those who have worked so hard for what they now have. — William Chancellor, Best Chance Optical, Forsyth, GA
  • I just worry about businesses that are already having to cut corners with staffing to pay the few people they can afford. I don’t want to see anything worse happen with the closing of local businesses and damage of local economy. Then again, I completely understand the necessity of discussing such a change, I am just afraid of what may come of it. — Tiffany Firer, Lifetime Eyecare, Jenison, MI
  • Pay for an employee should be based on ROI. Can they produce enough revenue to pay for themselves? For the vast majority of eyecare employees over $15 per hour is not a problem, but that should be up to me. — Michael Davis, OD, Opti-Care, Eldersburg, MD
  • It devalues all wages just above it. We cannot raise the bottom and every single other person proportionally to compensate. Nationally, you will see more and more automation and less full-time positions. Teens and students will find it harder to get employment. Less full-time positions will be open. And then, prices rise making the minimum wage back to the level it was. What’s the alternative? Pay the right amounts for various levels of skills and quality people. Don’t aim to shoot for the least expensive and expect to get more than the minimum. — Chris Dudley, Independent Optician, Central, FL
  • I don’t support it. While I do believe that everyone deserves a living wage, jumping up to $15 in our area would raise the cost of living for everyone else. There has to be a happy medium, but I am afraid I don’t have that answer. — Ann-Marie Weaver, Optimal Eye Care, Lewis Center, OH
  • I pay my employees more than this, however it will be difficult to attract employees in the future who can get paid similarly with benefits at convenience stores. I think it needs to increase but seems more reasonable to raise it to $10. If unskilled labor can make $15/hour it will put pressure on us to pay reception and techs well over $15. — Kathryn Collins, OD, Kissel Eye Care, Lititz, PA
  • If the minimum wage goes up to $15 then everyone else’s wages have to go up accordingly and I’d have to raise my prices to compensate. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • Everyone in my office already makes more than this anyway. However, many workers in the community would be laid off if this passes. — Rick Pascucci, Towpath Vision Care, Clinton, NY
  • I pay well over the minimum wage but it is a tough time for many struggling businesses to be hit with wage increases. — Texas L. Smith, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • It is such a challenge with all the insurance plans that cut deep into profits. Another issue is in the area we are in, there is a limited resource of quality applicants. Therefore, we spend quite a bit training and some simply don’t stay in the business. Pam Housley, Texas State Optical of Nederland, Port Arthur, TX
  • If minimum goes up now the people that put in their dues will not be making much more then beginners. The money that might have been available for raises is now being used for trainees, or you just run short handed to keep payroll in check. — Miguel Rodriguez, Fava & Maria Eye Associates, Lebanon, PA
  • While I support higher wages and we pay our employees more than any other optical in our area, I believe that higher minimum wages will just inflate prices of everything else. I think it should be handled on a state if not a county level, there are rural areas where most high paying jobs are $15 an hour and then there are big cities where you can’t even survive on $15 an hour. So cost of living should play into it too. — Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
  • A higher minimum wage entices people to linger in entry level positions, limiting ambition and forcing employers to pay higher wages to lower performing workers. — Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
  • I think the cost of living should decrease instead. I understand that it is hard for people to pay high rent and such, but if you can make as much working at McDonalds as you can in some fields with a bachelor’s degree, why bother to get the education? This, in turn, would decrease our overall level of intelligence in the U.S. and other countries will surpass us in everything but flipping burgers. — Star Taylor, Richens Eye Center, St George, UT
  • I think raising the minimum wage should be gradual instead of a large increase. Small business owners are still struggling from COVID and the lack of available workers. — Sonja Franklin, OD, Modern Eyes, Austin, TX
  • I do believe the minimum wage should be raised, however $15 would strain our small businesses in this town. I would also feel devalued because I do not make much more than $15 as a licensed optician. — Anna Brown, Family Eyecare, Campbellsville, KY
  • When wages jump that much so do prices and it will not be an improvement on living standards. — Chris Clark, Advanced Eye Care Optical Shoppe, Panama City, FL
  • Raising the minimum wage in theory sounds good. In reality, what we have seen is most businesses raise their prices to be able to afford to pay their unqualified or underperforming employees. Customer service has plummeted due to unexperienced employees. Businesses are struggling to compete with Amazon’s low prices, free next day shipping, great customer service, free returns and satisfaction guarantees. Meanwhile, property taxes are rising, rent is high, taxes are going up and patients are asking for our Wi-Fi password to buy glasses online after trying on 10 pairs in our optical. I would say the alternative is to focus your practice on niche services and luxury. If you compete on price, you will lose. If you sell luxury, you may be able to afford the $15+ minimum wage. — Diana Canto-Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL
  • This is complicated. I really wish I could say yes. However, the biggest concern I have is how it would affect the pricing of other goods and services in our area. This would be double the current minimum wage in our area. Can we say inflation? However, some areas I can see this being a necessity for the cost of living. — Cassandra Brackmann, Danville Family Eye Care, Danville, IN
  • This is a big topic with a lot of controversy. Raising wages equals raising prices, that is not getting ahead. You cannot legislate morality. — Amie Robinson, Spring Hill Eyecare, Spring Hill, TN

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