MILWAUKEE, March 7, 2013 — The Fair Minimum Wage Act, introduced by Senator Harkin and Representative Miller this week, will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25, and index it to inflation in the future so that low-wage workers do not continue to fall behind. 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 wage.
There are millions of women working full-time, but barely scraping by on wages that amount to less than $15,000 a year. These women provide essential services in our communities — they clean our homes and offices, cook and serve us our food, and care for our children and elderly parents. Raising the minimum wage will help families still reeling from the effects of the recession and provide a much-needed boost to the economy. Lower-income families will spend their extra wages on needed goods and services that other workers provide, creating 140,000 new jobs.
“In these tough economic times, common sense policies like increasing the minimum wage are crucial for working families struggling to support their families and build a better future,” said Linda Meric, national executive director of 9to5. “The middle class is what drives our economy. We can’t prosper as a nation unless today’s jobs and tomorrow’s jobs provide fair, decent wages.”
Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. More than half (17 million) of the 30 million American workers to get a raise under the bill are women. Raising the minimum wage would help women like Carolle who is in her early 60s, lives in Atlanta and serves as a cook at Waffle House. Earning $8 an hour, she has to support her husband who is on disability, two daughters, grandmother and niece. Her paycheck barely covers her mortgage, utilities, gas and food. Some months, she has to make a choice between which bills to pay. When asked what it would mean to her to earn $2.00 more per hour, she responded, “It would mean contentment for our entire family.”
“It’s a myth that teenagers represent the majority of low-wage workers,” said Meric. “In fact, the vast majority (88 percent) are adult workers, not teenagers. These people want to support their families, join the middle class and build a brighter future for their children.”
About 9to5: In 1973, a group of female office workers in Boston, fed up with being powerless and undervalued in the workplace, mobilized to change the way they were treated and paid. The group organized around their grievances; terms that didn’t yet exist– sexual harassment, pay equity and family leave. Forty years later, 9to5 has emerged as one of the largest, most respected national membership organizations of working women in the U.S. For more information, go to 9to5.org.
Contact: Susan Berryman Rodriguez at (404) email@example.com