National News

Labor Day Networking: Five Campaigns to Raise the Minimum Wage

By Tom Watson
Forbes, Sep 3 2012
On Labor Day 1978, I started my first minimum wage job, making $2.65 an hour at the local supermarket stocking shelves and bagging groceries, and driving a battered Buick Skylark to work after school that fall with Darkness on the Edge of Town in permanent residence on the 8-track.

Arkansas Minister: Poor Need Higher Minimum Wage

By Austin Robertson
Associated Press, Sep 3 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The minister who heads the Arkansas Interfaith Alliance says concern for the poor should prompt Congress to pass an increase in the minimum wage.

The Rev. Stephen Copley says the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour barely covers food and shelter in much of the country, and drives many hardworking men and women to food banks and homeless shelters.

He says, "A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it."

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Labor Day: Minimum Wage

Institute for Public Accuracy, Sep 3 2012
Rev. Stephen Copley, 
Director of the Arkansas Interfaith Alliance and chairman of the national nonpartisan Let Justice Roll Living Wage Coalition, Copley said: “Our motto at Let Justice Roll is ‘A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it.’ Today’s minimum wage is a poverty wage, not a living wage. At $7.25 an hour, just $15,080 a year, the minimum wage is set so low that growing numbers of hardworking men and women turn to food banks and homeless shelters to try and fill the gaping hole in their wages.

Raise Minimum Wage To Raise America

Op-ed by Holly Sklar
McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Jul 24 2012
Time flies when you're moving backward. With the federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour since July 24, 2009, workers now have less buying power than they did in 1997 at the start of the longest period in history without a raise.

It took 10 years, from 1997 until 2007, to raise the minimum wage above $5.15. A worker would need $7.36 today to match the buying power of the $5.15 minimum wage in 1997.

Empty Anniversary: Minimum Wage Stuck as Poverty Climbs

Institute for Public Accuracy, Jul 23 2012

Excerpt: Ariel Jacobson is senior associate in the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s Economic Justice Program, an international human rights organization based in Cambridge, Mass. and is on the board on Let Justice Roll. She said today: “Raising the minimum wage is an economic necessity and a moral issue that should weigh on our national conscience.

Celebrate Minimum Wage 100th Anniversary With Raise

Op-ed by Holly Sklar
Distributed in Massachusetts by American Forum: Fall River Herald News, Taunton Daily Gazette, Sun Chronicle, Providence Journal, more, Jun 4 2012

Massachusetts led the nation when it passed the first state minimum wage law a hundred years ago on June 4, 1912. Today, it is a laggard.

Low-wage Workers Are Older and Better Educated than Ever

By By John Schmitt and Janelle Jones
Center for Economic and Policy Research, Apr 30 2012
Relative to any of the most common benchmarks – the cost of living, the wages of the average worker, or average productivity levels – the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is well below its historical value. These usual reference points, however, understate the true erosion in the minimum wage in recent decades because the average low-wage worker today is both older and much better educated than the average low-wage worker was in the past.

The Minimum Wage Is Too Damn Low

By John Schmitt
Center for Economic and Policy Research, Mar 19 2012
By all of the most commonly used benchmarks – inflation, average wages, and productivity – the minimum wage is now far below its historical level. By all of these reference points, the value of the minimum wage peaked in 1968.

Should The Minimum Wage Be Raised?

By Patricia Smith
New York Times Upfront, Feb 20 2012
Excerpt: Holly Sklar of Let Justice Roll, a group working to raise the minimum wage, says that the decline in the value of those paychecks keeps the rest of the economy from flourishing.

"You can't really have a predominantly middle class country when you have so many people earning poverty wages," Sklar says. "It's really a drag on the overall economy."

Tipped Over the Edge - Gender Inequity in the Restaurant Industry

By Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United
Feb 13 2012
New report shows that women who work in the industry face systematic discrimination, poverty wages, a lack of sick days, and five times more harassment than the general female workforce. One major cause of poverty for these working women is that restaurant lobbyists have succeeded in keeping the federal minimum wage for servers and other tipped workers frozen at only $2.13 per hour for the past 20 years.

Findings in the report include the following:
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