Cameron University’s Bill Burgess Business Research Center (BBRC) will host a forum examining the impact on local businesses and their employees of raising the minimum wage. The event is slated from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, and will take place in the Mary Lou and W. Carey Johnson Auditorium in Ross Hall. The forum is open to the public at no charge. Social distancing will be observed, and facial coverings are required. For those wishing to attend via Zoom, please email Dr. Syed Ahmed, director of the BBRC, at firstname.lastname@example.org for a secure link.
Introduced in Congress on January 26, the “Raise the Wage Act of 2021” would raise the federal minimum wage in annual increments to $15 per hour by June 2025. The focus of the forum is to discuss the impacts of raising the minimum wage rate on the level of employment and the labor market in Lawton and surrounding regions.
“Raising the minimum wage will enhance the earnings of low-wage workers, but at what cost?” asks Ahmed. “If the cost of hiring labor increases, there is a possibility that labor will be replaced by machines and may actually lower the labor demand for low skilled jobs. The forum will examine the potential positive and negative impacts an increase in the minimum wage could have throughout the region.”
Leslie Osborn, Oklahoma Commissioner of Labor, and Travis Roach, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Central Oklahoma, will serve as keynote speakers. Following their comments, they will participate in a panel discussion which will also include Brad Cooksey, President and CEO, Lawton Economic Development Corporation, and Michael Cleghorn, City Manager, City of Lawton.