Minimum wage hike means pay raise for many East Texans

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, but starting Friday employees across the nation will get a pay raise.

The federal minimum wage increases $0.70 an hour.  The change will benefit workers in 30 states, including Texas.

Shae Williams has been working at Schlotzsky's for only two and a half months and she's already getting a raise.

"It's a good thing, you know it does make you want to come to work and you know it gives you a little positive outlook that things are getting better," said Shae Williams.

The increase would take minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25 that's an 11% increase. It's a change that one businessman said is bittersweet.

"I'm glad to see everyone get a raise on minimum wage. It's just going to effect, you know, not only us, [but] everywhere you go," said Lufkin Schlotzsky's General Manager Stephen Pinkney.

The restaurant used to have around 25 employees, now they're down to 15.

Pinkney said the mandated pay increase will keep him from hiring more help.

"No cuts, no layoffs, we just won't be able to hire any more," said Pinkney.

"It might cost us to have to do a small increase on our menu prices for the customer. We don't want to, but you know to offset the labor costs," Pinkney said.

He said it's especially tough because they're a locally-owned franchise, and some East Texans had mixed feelings about the pay hike.

"It gives me a chance to put back more as far as like, I have savings and everything," said Schlotzsky's Employee Shelby Tindol.

"I'm thankful for it, but I think that it should be a little more just because of the percentage of the unemployment increasing," said Sonic Carhop Meagan Patterson.

The news may not be good for everyone but Schlotzsky's General Manager hopes everything will work out.

"It's just really tough, but we're going to survive," Pinkney said.

The wage increase is supposed to generate an extra $5.5 billion in consumer spending over the next year.

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