Lawmakers, business owners battle minimum wage
POTTSBORO, Texas (KTEN) — Randy Reddell says his staff at Frank's Restaurant is mostly family, which seems to be his secret to success.
"It's that kind of loyalty that keeps it going," Reddell said.
However, just like everyone else, he's having trouble making that family bigger.
"Staffing has been one of the major concerns in restaurants and most service industries," Reddell said.
When unemployment benefits became more enticing in 2020, companies were forced to make a choice. For Reddell, that choice was to close early three days a week.
While Reddell pays his employees above minimum wage, politicians, activists and workers on both sides of the Red River believe $7.25 just isn't enough.
"If you really value work and you really value workers, then you want to make sure your policy makes wages grow at the same rate as the cost of living," said Oklahoma state Sen. Mary Boren (D-District 16).
Boren has introduced Senate Bill 332, which — if passed — would increase the minimum wage annually until it reaches $15.
After that, the figure would automatically increase based on inflation.
"If math and economics can decide what the wage should be, that's a much more fair consideration," Boren said.
For now, though, it's up to business owners to get creative.
"There are some items sometimes that we're not even covering the cost of our vendors," Reddell said. "We're holding our own, kind of treading water right now. It's not the best situation at all."