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August 2019 E-Advocacy: Let’s Make a “Fair Wage for a Fair Day’s Work” a Reality in America
The federal minimum wage was last raised on July 24, 2009 when Congress set it at $7.25 per hour – the equivalent of $15,080 a year. Since then, taking into account the rising cost of living, the lowest-paid workers have lost approximately $3,000. (Economic Policy Institute: https://www.epi.org/publication/congress-has-never-let-the-federal-minimum-wage-erode-for-this-long/) After toiling 40 hours a week, minimum wage workers live below the federal poverty level.
This affects everyone. When full-time employees must turn to federal and state aid for food and housing, their employers are using the money of taxpayers to run their business.
In July, the House of Representative passed the Raise the Wage Act. It phases in a $15 per hour wage by 2024 and provides an automatic annual adjustment to the minimum wage. This would protect workers’ wages against economic erosion. The bill also calls for the gradual increases in the subminimum wage of tipped workers until it is on par with the regular minimum wage.
If passed, this bill would lift 1.3 million people out of poverty and raise the pay of more than 22 million U.S. workers. (Congressional Budget Office: https://www.cbo.gov/publication/55410) When employees earn more money, it not only improves the quality of their lives but also boosts the local economy and enables employers to recruit and retain employees.
Click here to urge the U.S. Senate to pass the Raise the Wage Act. Remind our Senators that people who work a full-time job should not be impoverished.