Most Americans support worker-friendly businesses, but not when that means having to pay more, according to an analysis released Monday.
Pew Research Center found most Americans like to know whether a business is worker-friendly. The study points to wages and working conditions as key factors for determining how worker-friendly a business is. Nevertheless, the poll found 67 percent say it’s hard to justify paying more to support those businesses.
“The relationship between businesses and their employees is back in the news,” the poll stated. “Around half of Americans say the question of working conditions is indeed important to them, though fewer are actually willing to pay more to support businesses that are seen as worker-friendly.”
Pew Research Center originally conducted the survey in late 2015. It also found a mere 28 percent of consumers are actually willing to pay more if it means shopping at a business that provides good wages and working conditions. Even many of those that say the issue is important to them don’t like to pay the extra costs.
“Many Americans who say it’s important to know how workers are treated find it hard to justify the extra cost,” the poll stated. “Among those who say that worker pay and conditions are important to them, 41% say they regularly pay extra to support businesses that treat their employees well.”
The Fight for $15 and other worker rights movements have earned increased media attention in recent years. The movements have been able to utilize protests and media campaigns to push their message. Nevertheless, the issues they advocate for often face opposing partisan views.
“Questions about the minimum wage or employee benefits often break along political lines,” the poll stated. “Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party are more likely than their Republican and Republican-leaning counterparts to say that worker pay and conditions are important to their purchasing decisions.”
The worker movements and their supporters have also looked to policy solutions to address their concerns. The Fight for $15 movement, for instance, has pushed lawmakers to increase the minimum wage both locally and nationally. Supporters note an increase of the minimum wage could help lift many out of poverty.
Those opposed to minimum wage increases warn that it comes with unintended consequences. They note increasing the minimum wage could lead to fewer job opportunities as employers try to overcome the added cost of labor. It could also cause prices to go up, which the poll indicates is a worry to consumers.
The National Bureau of Economic Research and The Heritage Foundation found the increase will have a significant impact on employment. They found the risk is especially bad for young and low-skilled workers. The University of California, Berkeley found any losses would be marginal compared to the potential benefits.