By Cathy Deppe
Did you know that today’s minimum wage would have to be $10.67 per hour in order to catch up with 1968? The minimum wage, now $7.25/hour has certainly not kept pace with inflation. Since close to two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, the impact is felt most heavily on low-income women – many of whom are supporting families as well as themselves. When you include men, , there are more than thirty million low-wage workers now making less than low-wage workers did 45 years ago, in 1968!
Did you know that in California, San Jose State University students organized and won a victorious ballot initiative raising the City of San Jose minimum wage to $10.00/hour? Domestic workers here are fighting just to receive overtime, now denied them. And restaurant workers, eligible for overtime like Heriberto who is claiming over $30,000 in unpaid wages, have to go to court and bring supporters from 9to5 and other groups out to rally for it. Here and across the country, WalMart workers are striking and being fired just for organizing for better wages.
We must to catch up to 1968 this summer! And we can’t wait for incremental advances. Let’s raise the minimum wage to $10.50/hour. Let’s index the minimum wage to inflation, so that when basic necessities such as annual costs for housing, transportation, food and healthcare go up, the minimum wage goes up up! Let’s raise the federal tipped wage from $2.14/hour so no one has to depend on unreliable tips.
9to5 will hold town meetings with our Congressional Representatives in Los Angeles and San Jose this August, when they are home from D.C. to hear from their constituents. You can help!
For more information about joining the 9to5 California Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage check out our It’s Time for a Raise flyer. Summer may be the lazy season, but we need to roll up our sleeves this summer to win. We literally cannot afford to lose.