July 24, 2013

Jobs With Justice

No More Excuses – Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

How many times have you heard someone say, “If your job is so bad, get a new one!”?

That’s not a real solution for tens of millions of workers.

Not convinced? A quick glance at monthly unemployment numbers since the Great Recession speaks volumes. Jobs are hard to come by, especially good ones!

The positions that are available are chiefly low-wage, temporary, part-time jobs without affordable health care. Since the recession, 58 percent of new jobs have been in low-wage occupations like cashiers and food preparation, according to the National Labor Employment Project.

These job conditions aren’t likely to change soon as corporations continue take advantage of the stagnant economy. Many big profitable corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s are paying poverty wages that force employees to rely on public assistance. But what could change and make a huge difference for those workers is a meaningful increase in the minimum wage.

One key solution is for Congress to adopt the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10, boost the tipped minimum wage, and index both to rise with the cost of living. More than 30 million workers would get a boost from the passage of this law.

July 24, 2013, marks four years since the federal minimum wage was raised to $7.25, which is only $15,000 a year – less than the poverty level for a family of four.  So today a national coalition of community advocates, workers, online activists, and faith and business leaders – including Jobs with Justice – are calling on elected officials and low-wage employers to give America a raise.

Central Indiana Jobs with Justice is releasing a report on Indiana’s wages and is holding a press conference with U.S. Representative Andre Carson, co-sponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. Eastern Massachusetts Jobs with Justice is mobilizing a number of actions at Walmart locations across the Boston area. Central Florida Jobs with Justice is hosting a town hall with U.S. Representative Alan Grayson.

Many more Jobs with Justice coalitions are holding rallies, mobilizing actions at Walmart, and releasing reports this week as part of the many demonstrations of public support for a raise in the minimum wage.

While public polling consistently shows the public backs an increase in the minimum wage, we see the need to make sure that lawmakers and corporations are on board.. And we’re excited to galvanize support for a raise the minimum wage because it’s such a clear first step in insuring higher pay and living standards for all workers.

Fundamentally, our country needs to ensure decent job standards. Until then, workers should be able to band together and improve them.

There are no more excuses to make. As our new Secretary of Labor Tom Perez explains:

“It is time to increase the minimum wage. As a matter of social justice, it’s the right thing to do; as a matter of economic common sense, it’s the smart thing to do.”

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