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Media Statement: 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act

Media Statement: 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Susan Berryman-Rodriguez, 9to5
(404) 222-0030

(Washington, DC) –The 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

9to5 National Executive Director Linda Meric released the following statement in response:

“Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This landmark law restricted child labor, gave workers the 40-hour work week, set a minimum wage and required overtime pay when people worked over 40 hours in a week. President Roosevelt called it the most important piece of New Deal legislation passed since the Social Security Act of 1935.

Building on the great foundation of the FLSA, it’s time to put jobs and the economy front and center again. Corporations have been increasing in power, and some have been using this influence to hold down wages and job standards, even as their profits have risen. In fact, productivity of the average worker has increased by about 85 percent while the value of the minimum wage has declined by 21 percent. Jobs aren’t paying enough for workers to afford the basics – from food to doctor visits.

Earning $8 an hour as a cook, Carolle Fleurio has to support her husband who is on disability, two daughters, grandmother and niece. Her paycheck barely covers her mortgage, utilities, gas and food. Sometimes, she has to make a choice between which bills to pay.

Increasing the minimum wage would benefit our economy and small businesses that depend on workers having enough money to spend on the basic necessities. Introduced in March 2013, the Fair Minimum Wage Act will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25, and index it to inflation so that low-wage workers do not continue to fall behind. The minimum wage has been raised only three times in 30 years. The Act will also raise the $2.13 minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in more than 20 years, restoring the value to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

Women and women of color, who are over-represented among-low wage and minimum wage workers, would especially benefit from this increase. More than half (17 million) of the 30 million American workers who would get a raise under the Fair Minimum Wage Act are women. Women working full time earn on average just 77 cents for every dollar men make. Raising the minimum wage would help close this gap by increasing wages for workers at the bottom of the wage ladder.

We must all exercise our political power to ensure that corporations provide a higher floor for wages and Congress creates public policies like the Fair Minimum Wage Act that ensure basic labor standards. Increasing the minimum wage will get the economy back on track and help working people and the middle class support their local economies, which benefit all of us.”

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About 9to5: Winning justice for working women for 40 years, 9to5 leads the way to create a powerful force for change on issues affecting low-wage women and their families. Through hands-on leadership development, grassroots organizing and policy advocacy, 9to5 organizes women in campaigns for family-supporting jobs with living wages and paid sick days; and stronger protections against workplace discrimination. 9to5 is one of the largest, most respected national membership organizations of working women in the U.S. To learn more or to get involved, visit 9to5.org and find us on Facebook and Twitter.