Houston workers, businesses adjust to minimum wage hike

Houston business owners welcomed a boost to B.C.’s minimum wage last week—a raise many said was overdue.

Houston business owners welcomed a boost to B.C.’s minimum wage last week—a raise many said was overdue.

But the move is not without growing pains.

On Tuesday, B.C’s minimum hourly wage rose to $10.25, the last of three raises up from $8 a year ago.

At the same time, base pay for liquor servers rose to $9 an hour from $8.50, and daily minimums rose for live-in care aids, live-in camp leaders, and residential cleaners.

Maureen Czirfusz, manager Houston’s Chamber of Commerce, says a 2011 survey done before the increase shows more than two-thirds of Chamber members support it.

Brenda Madigan is among the supporters. She and her husband Al have run Houston’s A&W restaurant for 16 years.

“I’m really happy that the minimum wage did go up for everybody,” said Madigan.

But Madigan was less pleased to see the B.C. government scrap its training wage—a $6 an hour wage paid to young people working the first 500 hours of their very first job.

“I really wish they’d left the training wage for the students,” she says.

“I used to be able to take my time with them, and now I have to make sure it’s bang-bang-bang, and they catch on right away.”

Bob Wheaton, who owns the Houston Food Market, agrees it was high time the wage got a boost.

“I think it was necessary,” he said. “There were 10 years where it didn’t happen.”