While the majority of U.S. senators sided with the overwhelming majority of Americans who want to see the national minimum wage raised, Senate Republicans blocked a bill yesterday that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka condemned the continued right-wing obstruction preventing millions of working families from getting a much-needed boost in income:
The Senate failed yesterday to increase the minimum wage. The rest of America marches forward, raising wages every way possible, utterly confident that we have history, economics, morality and plain common sense on our side.
Any political oligarch in America who thinks they won yesterday is delusional. Those celebrating the Senate’s vote are desperately clinging to greed, fooling themselves with an argument that is rapidly losing merit and muscle tone.
Raising wages is here to stay. States are doing it. Cities, counties and little towns are doing it. Smart business owners are doing it. The federal government has done it—at least with respect to federal contractors and employees. Congress should follow President Obama’s lead and pass national legislation—raising the minimum wage, including the tipped minimum, and indexing it to inflation. Most important, workers are doing it. We are using our collective power to raise wages in every conceivable way.
Workers are energized, eager and smart. We deserve better pay, and our families and communities deserve better lives. Yesterday’s vote will only propel American workers, inspiring us to find fresh tactics, innovative strategies and new avenues to raising wages.
The Senate should take up the minimum wage increase again and again, if necessary. Every time raising wages is in the national discussion, our opponents look more and more hollow. They are fighting a losing battle because they have the wrong argument for the wrong reasons at the wrong time.
We have a big agenda and robust plans to fulfill it. Today, we are even more confident in that mission.