By Jeremy Appel on September 30, 2017.
CLARIFICATION: Shelley Ursulak is not a manager at Rossco’s Pub, but a day-time employee. The comments made my Ursulak are her own opinion and do not reflect that of Ross Beach, owner of Rossco’s Pub.
“I am waiting to see the impact of the mandatory wage increase on the bottom line. There are multiple other factors from all suppliers . . . food and liquor increases and delivery costs,” says Beach. “Until all costs have been passed onto us and analyzed, we will consider what has to be increased at that time.”
Beach adds he is also a supporter of the minimum wage increase.
Some Medicine Hat business owners are expressing ambivalence about the increasing minimum wage, as it raises to $13.60/hour on Monday as a step toward $15/hour next year.
Michael and Gerry Magotiaux, co-owners of Petland pet store, said they’re in favour of increasing the minimum wage, but the goal of $15 an hour is a case of too fast too soon.
“I don’t mind wage increases like they used to do (for) cost of living and that kind of stuff, but when they start tacking on 10, 25 per cent increased wages, holy mackerel,” said Michael. “Our business hasn’t gone up that much, if at all.”
Gerry said their business will increase prices and cut hours to compensate for the increased cost of wages.
“We’re going to have to increase prices and we’ll definitely have to cut staff hours, which is going to mean people are going to be making less money,” she said.
“It’s going to affect Petlands the business, because if you have less people working, then the service goes down the toilet because there are less people to help.
“It’s going to be detrimental to small businesses. It’s going to be tough.”
With the initial minimum wage increase to $12.20 an hour, Petlands already cut between 40 and 50 employee hours, said Michael.
“That’s one full-time job that we’ve cut,” he said.
Michael added that he’s afraid people will start shopping online more, which he called a “double whammy.”
Gerry said Petland already pays more than minimum wage, which won’t be as attractive once the increases kick in.
“I’m going to have to go across the board and give all my people raises over and above what I normally give them anyway,” she said.
Shelley Ursulak, a manager at Rossco’s Pub, said she thinks it was a bad idea to increase servers’ wages, which are typically below minimum wage, along with the increasing minimum wage.
“We wish they’d just leave it alone,” she said. “People now feel in the service end that they don’t need to tip anymore.
“We’re still a service. We’re still coming and working for you personally,” said Ursulak.
Like Petlands, Rossco’s is increasing prices to keep up with growing labour costs.
“It’s a big jump,” Ursulak said.
Medicine Hat MLA and government House Leader Bob Wanner was unable to respond to request for comment by press time.