Minnesota is part of a growing group of states and localities that aren't sitting around and waiting for the federal government to take the lead on pushing to increase the minimum wage and move it closer to a living wage. Recently, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which hasn't gone anywhere in Congress. But that isn't stopping states like Minnesota, which are stepping up and getting the job done when it comes to raising the minimum wage.
With the federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour and an increase facing stiff opposition from congressional Republicans, coalitions of union, community, faith and other groups are mobilizing to win increases in state and local minimum wage levels. Here’s a look at some recent wins and campaigns where AFL-CIO state federations and central labor councils are playing big roles.
Saru Jayaraman, co-director and co-founder of ROC-United, will appear on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" tonight at 10 p.m. EDTto discuss the importance of raising the tipped minimum wage for our country's 10 million restaurant workers.
This week, Minnesota state Rep. Jason Metsa (D) is taking the Working America Minimum Wage Challenge—living on the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. He’ll report his experience back to the Minnesota legislature, where they are considering a bill to raise the minimum wage to $9.95.
On Wednesday, Metsa’s challenge was to find a place to live. Why a challenge? His budget that he set out on Monday allowed for only $359 a month for housing.
At a time when it seems nearly every state legislature is assaulting the rights of working families, Minnesota's House and Senate are bucking the trend and are likely to soon send Gov. Mark Dayton a series of strong pro-working family bills. According to Minnesota AFL-CIO Communications Director Chris Shields, this is the first time in 20 years the state government has been unified under one-party control, with the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party holding the governorship and the majority in both houses of the legislature.
After President Obama called for raising the nation’s minimum wage to $9 an hour and protecting it against inflation, the struggle that millions of low-wage workers face trying to survive on the current $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage is back on the nation’s radar screen.
Recently NBC News took a look at “the workers who answer your customer service calls, deliver your pizzas, take care of your children, bag your groceries and serve your food,” including Crystal Dupont, 25, who takes customer service calls in the Houston apartment she shares with her mother who has disabilities.
In the largest minimum wage jump in the United States, the city of San Jose will increase the income for the lowest-wage workers to $10 per hour starting Monday. The increase passed with 59% of the vote in November. Ben Field, executive officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, and Scott Knies, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association, wrote for the Mercury News that economic analysis shows the increase will add $70 million to the city's economy, as consumers will have more money to spend on local businesses.
If you think a tip for a server at your favorite restaurant is a gesture of recognition for good service, you're mistaken.
“People think a tip is extra, to show gratitude for really good service, but it’s really not,” said Daisy Chung, executive director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, an advocacy group for restaurant workers. “Consumers should really know that they’re subsidizing workers’ wages, it’s not on top of it. You’re making up the difference for the fact that someone doesn’t make minimum wage.”
A new report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) shows that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is engaged in a widespread campaign to suppress the wages of already low-wage workers. ALEC has created model legislation that is designed to weaken or repeal state minimum wage laws, reduce minimum wages for young workers and tipped workers, weaken overtime compensation rules and stop local governments from passing living wage ordinances.