The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on September 29, 1996 · Page 21
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 21

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 29, 1996
Page 21
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SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 29, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL Money CLASSIFIED / INSIDE c T MINIMUM WAGE Wage hike affects few Salinans Tight labor market means most make more than minimum wage By ALF ABUHAJLEH The Saltnii Journal The 50-cent minimum wage hike that kicks in Tuesday isn't expected to boost payroll costs for Salina businesses, nor will it swell workers' billfolds. The new $4.75-an-hour minimum wage was signed into law by President Clinton Aug. 20 and is the first of two increases. The second takes effect Sept. 1, 1997, and will raise the minimum wage to $5.15 an hour. Although the increase affects 9.7 million workers nationwide, local business leaders and economists said most Salina employers already pay their workers more than $5.15 an hour. Even traditionally low-paying jobs such as gas station attendant, retail store clerk and fast-food restaurant staff pay between $5.50 and $6 an hour, said Ken Dreiling, a research analyst for the Kansas Department of Human Resources in Salina. The low unemployment rate is one reason a majority of workers in Salina earn more than minimum wage. According to the Kansas Department of Human Resources, the unemployment rate for Salina reached 3.3 percent in August. That meant fewer than 840 people were actively looking for a job. "We have a very, very tight labor market here in Salina, which makes it hard to find good, reliable labor unless you pay more than minimum wage," said Gerald Cook, president of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. "Local companies have to pay enough to keep their workers staying." The competitive salaries offered by the local manufacturing industry are another reason wages have stayed high, Cook said. Philips Lighting Co., for example, starts its unskilled, entry-level workers at an hourly rate of $12.59; Exide Corp. pays between $7.25 and $7.88; and Tony's Pizza Service pays between $6.45 and $6.65. "Those companies' high wages create upward pressure on wages ^across the board," said Kevin JJpyd, an economist at Kansas Wesleyan University. "It makes Jbr a competitive labor market." ;" Dave Patrick, owner of Dave's Conoco, a gasoline station at 680 S. Front, said he offers entry-level workers $5.50 an hour, well above the minimum wage, and he expects them to be productive. "I expect them to be dedicated and a bit more professional in their work," said Patrick, adding that six of his 10 employees earn around $6 an hour. "You won't get that from someone who you pay minimum wage." Doug Rempp, who owns five McDonald's restaurants in Salina, said the minimum wage increase won't affect the 200 workers on his payroll. About 90 percent of them earn more than $5.15, Rempp said. Although McDonald's entry-level staff who work part-time start at $4.75 an hour, Rempp said the demand for new employees will push the hourly wage above $5.15 by next fall. Target, YMCA affected At Target Stores, 2939 Market, new full-time employees earn an hourly wage of $4.80, said Marsha Anderson, personnel manager. "We will have to make some adjustments before next fall to meet the new wage rate," she said. " See WAGE, Page C2 -Airlane comparison Ctettlnrtion From Saline From Wichita At T H E W ATE R C O O L E R Chlcago-O'Hare 214 203 New York-La Guardia 263 366 St. Louis 276 393 Washington National 250 340 Pittsburgh 314 312 Los Angelas 198 345 All fares are USAir and show the cheapest prices if tickets are bought three weeks in advance. Fares from Kansas City to these cities are $40 less than fares from Salina. Destinations are the most ^ popular ones for Salinans flying USAIr. Did they get a big tip? To many people, room service means coffee and a sandwich. At the ritzy St. Regis hotel in Manhattan, customers have some strange orders, including one for a crystal dog bowl, another for a pizza in a blender, one for a pound of watermelon seeds and one for a whole lamb, cooked and carved. CANCER discrimination AT WORK Employees who have cancer are far more likely to be fired or laid off By JUDIE GLAVE The Associated Press GLEN COVE, N.Y. — When Jane Karuschkat was recuperating from cancer, she longed for the routine and motivation her job provided. But one week after her first chemotherapy treatment, she was laid off. "I thought I was being called to take dictation," the former legal secretary recalled. Instead, Karuschkat — who missed five days of work after a mastectomy — said she was told: "I can't afford to keep you anymore." "I couldn't believe what I was hearing," said Karuschkat, 45. "The voice inside my head ^ was screaming, 'You can't do that! You can't do that!' " But they do. Employees with cancer are fired or laid off five times as often as others, according to a survey by Working "I thought I was being called to take dictation. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The voice inside my head was Screaming, 'YOU Can't Woman magazine do that!' " and Amgen ' ' Jane Karuschkat fired worker Thousand Oaks, Calif., company that makes drugs* to lessen chemo- A therapy side effects. And when cancer patients do keep theh 1 jobs, they are often stripped of important duties by supervisors who believe the treatment will slow the workers down. One in 14 cancer survivors interviewed said they were fired or laid off because of their illness. Of all American workers, only one in 80 was fired or laid off in 1995, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The May survey included interviews with 100 supervisors, 100 coworkers and 500 cancer survivors who worked while undergoing treatment. Eighty-five percent of supervisors said they believe the cancer survivors who worked for them suffered fatigue while undergoing chemotherapy, but only 58 percent of cancer patients actually did. Seventy-four percent of the supervisors cited nausea, yet only 33 percent of cancer patients had nausea. "Today a majority of patients are treated as outpatients and there are new medicines that dramatically reduce and often eliminate chemothera- Good old advice Sitting at your computer all day makes you feel like your muscles are permanently cramped? The office furniture maker Haworth has some revolutionary advice: Get up and move around, even if it means actually going over to talk to co-workers instead of e-mailing them. When you're sitting, correct your posture. Beam me up People who manage travel for companies get a lot of strange requests, finds Runzheimer International. One worker wanted a seat on the shady side of the plane, and one wanted a color-coordinated ski rack on his car. Some reveal their innocence, like one who was afraid of flying and wanted a bus ticket to Hawaii. The Associated Press Jane Karuschkat, who had a mastectomy in 1992, sits In her Glen Cove, N.Y., home with one of her birds. py side effects like low blood counts, nausea," said Dr. Ellen Gold, Beth Israel Medical Center. "It seems (employers) just aren't aware of that yet." Most treatments can be scheduled for Friday after work, giving patients the weekend to recover, she said. Lani Stewart of Westminster, Colo., was laid off from her purchasing job three years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Though the company told her she was being let go because of "necessary reductions in the work force," Stewart, 42, is convinced the self-insured company simply didn't want to risk future medical bills. Others laid off included a woman whose husband had a brain tumor, a man with diabetes and two other breast cancer survivors. Stewart's lawsuit against her company is pending. Karuschkat, 45, went to the state Human Rights Commission and won a $70,000 judgment against her boss for discrimination. The cancer has since reappeared in her hip bone after a second mastectomy. Despite the illness, Karuschkat believes her work would not have suffered. She points to the lavish gardens she designed and nurtured, the basement lined with hand-painted oils — all done while undergoing chemotherapy. "Having a job was an important motivation for getting up every morning," said Karuschkat, bald from treatments. "When I lost my job, it was like the rug was pulled out from under me." V STAYING AHEAD Truth-in-Savings law needs your help again Source: USAIr Journal Graphic Congress might weaken consumer law to make it friendlier to bankers NEW YORK — Attention all Truth-in- Savings Irregulars. Last April, I told you that this splendid law had come under attack, by a Congress that wanted to end part or all of it. I urged you to write to your senator and representative, and say "no way." You did. Staffers all over the Hill say they heard from you. Key parts of truth-in-savings appear to be safe, for now. But two important sections remain at serious risk and may be voted on at any moment. So please, gang, let's do it again. Fax • or phone, and tell all your friends to do the same. For phone calls, the Congressional switchboard is 202-224-3121. Holler at the White House, too (202-456- JANE BRYANT QUINN The Washington Post 1111). President Clinton is treating this issue as too small to worry about. One endangered section of truth-in-savings lets you check up on whether you actually got the rate of interest that your banker advertised. The other makes it tough to sue if you're misled. "Everybody wants to get rid of the policemen," says Richard L.D. Morse, father of the Truth-in-Savings Act and professor emeritus at Kansas State University. Truth-in-savings, passed in 1991, is the only law that gives you an honest accounting of the interest you earn. Before passage, you couldn't tell which institution had the better deal. A bank with a 4.8 percent certificate of deposit might have been paying more than a bank with a 5 percent CD, because of the many different ways of calculating yield. Truth-in-savings created a standard interest-rate calculation known as the annual percentage yield. All institutions have to use it when advertising their rates. The APY is a straightforward concept that anyone can grasp. It's the amount of money you'd earn on $100, kept in the bank for a 365-day year, expressed as a per- centage. For example, if the advertised APY is 5.09 percent, you'd earn $5.09 annually for every $100 on deposit. That makes it a cinch to tell who's promising the most on savings deposits. The winner is the account with the highest APY. Last spring, a House bill proposed to wipe out the APY. A Senate bill kept it. It appears that the Senate side will prevail. But there's also something in the law called the "APY Earned," which the Senate (cheered by the bankers) wants to eliminate. The APY Earned tells you what rate your banker actually paid, as opposed to the rate that was promised in the ad. The rate often changes on money-market deposit accounts and interest-paying checking accounts. So the APY Earned is your only reality check, appearing on every periodic statement you get. At present, your statements also show how much interest you earned, in dollars and cents, and how much you paid in fees. If you're paying more than you earn, you need to handle your account in a different way. The bankers and the Senate, however, want to wipe out this disclosure, too. Perhaps you can stop them. Tell your senator and representative: "don't touch truth-in-savings," including the APY Earned, all other disclosures on the periodic statement, and your right to sue. And tell them fast. While you're at it, tell them not to exclude small credit unions from the law. Consumers Union, an advocacy group, is deeply concerned about your right to sue. The bill relieves the banks of civil liability under the law. There couldn't be class-action lawsuits or even individual suits, if you discovered a fudge the bank didn't fix. Nedda Feddis, senior federal counsel for the American Bankers Association, says not to worry, the banking regulators would enforce the law. But, says Morse, "We know from the S&L scandal how ineffective government agencies are in protecting consumers." Feddis adds that banks want to prevent class-actions over honest errors of judgment. But eliminating lawsuits clears the banks of calculated or aggressive "errors," too. Most banks won't willfully mislead. But some did, which created the climate for passing truth-in-saving. Without law-enforcement, those deceptions will return. SUGGESTIONS? CALL MARY JO PROCHAZKA, MONEY EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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