Monday, June 06, 2005

Speak up for Living wages!

Very happy to see this recently in USA TODAY. This is part of the current to get across the chasm. We must no longer just accept the status quo. And it doesn't work if it's "not my problem!"

We must have a one for all
and all for one

attitude if we are to make it across in what the HOPI's say is our GREAT EMERGENCE toward Heaven on Earth. I don't know how many times a week I say to my husband in discussing life's most puzzling frustrations "And people are okay with this?" or "Why do people just accept this?!" I've become a big proponent of LIVING WAGE legislation since seeing the author of "Nickel and Dimed" speak on C-SPAN. She went undercover as a minimum wage worker at Wal-Mart for over a year. I once interviewed the director of our Homeless Shelter here just after they had expanded and moved to a much bigger building that still will not meet demand in this area. He said the census and research they commissioned showed in order to make a "living wage" in Fargo-Moorhead one must make $9.25 an hour. Not quite there yet. In Fargo, $8 is primo pay baby! At least that's the "high bar" level to START and most non professional places. And you can work your way slowwwwly over your life time to $9.50! Can you even begin to imagine how wrong this is? Cleaning a hotel or office complex scrubbing floors for 40 hours a week for a 640 check before taxes? That's just one example there are many others.

My favorite argument with that one is----chime in with me now "Get a better education then!" With WHAT?! And how do you propose then that you also feed your family, pay your rent, EAT??!! Most workers stuck at this level work 2 jobs. If they have lots of mouths to feed they work 3. Sick and wrong. That's no American Dream. America's hardest workers make the least amount of money. I wish they would stand up! It aint going to be so on other side fo the chasm. Can't happen. Must change. I for one am glad States are making the steps to take matters into their own hands to get the current going. And how on Earth could this mean, as retailers say it will, higher costs for the consumers? Read the evidence. Read "Nickled and Dimed." The profit line is clear. And the Greed is clearer and clearer too. So don't buy that fear tactic any longer and do the right thing! Speak up for living wages for our workers who deserve it so very much!

States say $5.15 an hour too little

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
More states are raising their minimum wages, pushing hourly rates above $7 in some and shrinking the role of the federal minimum wage, which hasn't gone up in eight years.
Eleven states have raised their rates since January 2004, and Wisconsin will become the 12th on Wednesday. Employers there must pay at least $5.70 an hour through June 2006, when the minimum wage rises again to $6.50 an hour.
In all, 17 states and the District of Columbia — covering 45% of the U.S. population — have set minimums above the federal rate of $5.15. That has helped cut the number of workers earning the minimum or less (for those earning tips) from 4.8 million in 1997 to 2 million last year, or 2.7% of hourly earners, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.
About half of minimum-wage earners work at restaurants. Millions more have wages that are influenced by the minimum. Its buying power is at its lowest point since 1949.
Congress last changed the federal minimum wage in 1997. The latest proposal to raise it died in the Senate in March.
"The federal government is not living up to its responsibility, so the states are acting," says New Jersey state Sen. Steve Sweeney, a Democrat who sponsored a law that will raise the state's minimum.
Hiking the minimum wage
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia will have a minimum wage by Oct. 1 that exceeds the federal rate of $5.15 per hour.

Restaurants, retailers and other businesses oppose higher minimum wages. They say the laws will raise consumer prices and ultimately cost jobs.
"A new minimum wage forces price hikes on menus," says Simon Flynn, president of the Connecticut Restaurant Association. "The burden not only threatens the bottom line, it threatens the survival of many restaurants."

Polls show that minimum wage increases are popular. In a Pew Research Center Poll in December, 86% supported raising the federal minimum to $6.45.
Liberal activists say they're using the minimum wage to put Republicans on the defensive. They hope to put minimum wage initiatives on the ballots next year in nine states, including Ohio, Michigan and Arizona, says Kristina Wilfore, head of the liberal Ballot Strategy Initiative Center.
"This is going to take off like wildfire," she says. "It will pull progressive voters to the polls. The way the gay marriage amendment lured conservative voters to the polls (in November) was a wake-up call for us."
Efforts to raise the minimum wage have had most success in states that voted for 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. Florida and Alaska are the only states that voted for President Bush last year to have minimum wages above the federal rate.

No comments: