Raise the Minimum Wage

By 9to5 Los Angeles members Cathy Deppe and Maegan Mattock

California’s minimum wage is going up to $10.00/hr.  But when, and how?

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 10 into law in September, raising California’s minimum wage from $8.00/hour to $9.00/hour by mid-2014 and to $10.00 in 2016.

This marks the first time in five years that the California minimum wage has been increased – a victory for California workers. It was supported by a coalition of labor unions, policy centers and non-profits including 9to5 California. Working women make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers, and need a raise to make ends meet and give a much needed boost to the state’s economy.

But AB 10 still is not enough.  Fast food workers, half of whom rely on public assistance to help pay the bills, are organizing for $15.00/hr. And because the bill was amended, there’s no annual adjustment for inflation. This new minimum wage will again fall further behind the cost of living.

9to5 is supporting two bills being considered at the federal level to raise the minimum wage.

Senate Bill 460, the “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013” introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), increases minimum wage in three steps,  from $7.25/hr. to $10.10/hr. by the year 2015.  Tipped minimum wage will go up for the first time in over 20 years, increasing from $2.13/hr. to 70% of the minimum wage.  Both wage rates will be indexed to inflation beginning in 2016.

House Bill 1346, the “Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013”, introduced by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), raises federal minimum wage from $7.25/hr. to $10.50/hr. within sixty days of being signed into law.  It will also raise tipped minimum wages to 70% of the minimum wage, and make yearly adjustments for inflation.

We are long overdue for a boost to the federal minimum wage.  It’s time for our Members of Congress to take a lead in supporting an increase! Last month, community groups from Los Angeles, including 9to5 California, the California Faculty Association, and LAANE, invited Congressional Representatives to a town hall on the federal minimum wage, and delivered hundreds of petition signatures.

Now is the time to reach out to members of the California Congressional delegation and urge them to take action to raise minimum wage.  Together, we can help improve the lives of millions of hard-working families.

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