In Ohio, Minimum Wage Is Personal

"Black Light Bowling" has proved a colorful way to drum up business at the lanes outside Cincinnati. CBS News correspondent Lee Cowan reports that for the ball buffers and shoe sorters, this is often their first job, sweeping up a few extra bucks at just over the minimum wage.

"I mean $6 dollars an hour, it's not much, but it helps put gas in the car," says employee Michael McIntyre.

It's not bad for an after school job, but what about someone like Torrie Gregg? She makes just 25 cents an hour more than Michael working at McDonald's, and she supports five kids. After the bills are paid at the end of the month, she says she is left with "sometimes nothing."

Her pay is tied to the minimum wage, which Congress hasn't raised above $5.15 since 1997.

Since then, 23 states have raised it on their own, and on Tuesday, minimum wage will be voted on in a half a dozen more states, including Ohio, which wants to raise it to $6.85.

"Any little bit helps," Torrie Gregg says.

The issue resonates in Ohio, which ranks near the bottom in job growth. The city of Cleveland was voted the poorest large city in America, with one out of every three people living below the poverty line.

Amanda Stewart is one of them, making less than $10,000 dollar a year working at a sandwich shop.

"I never expected my life when I was a kid to be like this," Stewart says.

But raising the minimum wage has its opponents, especially small business owners like the one back at that bowling alley, who have argued for years that raising the minimum wage could strike out minimum wage jobs.

"It's going to make me scrutinize that part of my labor force much tighter," says Frank Ruggerie, the bowling alley owner.

He fears if it passes, he may have to lay off some of his entry-level workers. Some economists agree with him, but not all of them. They cite states where the minimum wage was raised and that led to job growth.

In Ohio, 70 percent of voters say they are in favor of the increase, just to get wages out of the gutter.
  • Melissa McNamara

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