Credo Action

Tell Congress: Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour

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The petition to the U.S. Congress reads:

“No American who earns the federal minimum wage should live in poverty. Support the Pay Workers a Living Wage Act to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”

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    Tell Congress: Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour

    At just $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum wage leaves a family of three living below the poverty line. A minimum wage worker can't even afford rent for a modest, two-bedroom apartment by working a standard 40-hour work week.

    Thanks to activism of hundreds of thousands of CREDO members who have been fighting with our labor and progressive allies across the country, the effort to raise the minimum wage is gaining momentum. Just this month, fast food workers in New York scored a major victory when the Fight for $15 movement successfully urged state officials to raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour.1

    And now the Fight for $15 movement got a major boost. Progressive champions Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Raul Grijalva, and Senator Bernie Sanders recently introduced the Pay Workers a Living Wage Act, new legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    Tell Congress: Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    With momentum growing across the country to raise the minimum wage, now is the time to pressure Congress to support this legislation and lift millions of Americans out of poverty.

    Three million American workers earn wages at or below the federal minimum wage, and another 20.6 million are considered "near-minimum-wage" workers.2 In total, 35 million Americans -- over a quarter of our entire country's workforce -- earn less than $10.55 an hour3, and a stunning 53 million earn less than $15 an hour.4

    This legislation would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020, then index the wage to inflation for following years. The bill would also phase out the tipped minimum wage and make it easier for federal workers to join a union.

    While Republicans and corporate special interests invoke doom and gloom if we raise wages, the opposite has in fact been the case. In the town of SeaTac, Washington, for example, which recently raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour, the unemployment rate has significantly decreased, and small businesses have been growing and expanding. In fact, of the twenty-nine states and dozens of cities and towns that have set their own minimum wage above the federal minimum, many are seeing faster job growth than the rest of the country.5

    Tell Congress: Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    Boosting the minimum wage minimum wage to $15 per hour would give a much-needed pay raise to a nearly 25 million workers across the country.

    This legislation would also have a sweeping positive effect across age, gender, and racial lines. Contrary to the claims of opponents to raising the minimum wage, the majority of minimum wage earners are not teens, but are adults who contribute significantly to their household's income.6 A disproportionate number of these workers -- 62% of all minimum wage earners -- are female, including six million working moms.7 And under this new legislation, more than 50% of African Americans and nearly 60% of Latino workers would see a pay increase.8

    Public support for this legislation is overwhelming. A recent poll showed that 63% of Americans support an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour,9 and over 200 respected economists have already signed on to support this legislation. And Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi just threw her support behind raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is not only a sure sign that Congressional leadership plan to back this bill, but it will also serve to pressure the Obama Administration to support this critical wage hike.10

    On the heels of recent victories by our friends in the Fight for $15 movement across the country, there is no better time to increase pressure on Congress to support raising the federal minimum wage to no less than $15 an hour.

    Tell Congress: Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    Thanks for all your help to raise the minimum wage.

    References

    1. Patrick McGeehan, "[New York Plans $15-an-Hour Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers[(http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/23/nyregion/new-york-minimum-wage-fast-food-workers.html?_r=0)," The New York Times, July 22, 2015
    2. Drew Desilver, "5 facts about the minimum wage," Pew Research Center, July 23, 2015
    3. "A Strong Minimum Wage Can Help Working Families, Businesses and Our Economy Recover," National Employment Law Project, January 2011
    4. "Pay Workers a Living Wage Act Summary," Senator Bernard Sanders, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Rep. Raul Grijalva
    5. Bryce Covert, "States That Raised Their Minimum Wages Are Experiencing Faster Job Growth," ThinkProgress, July 3, 2014
    6. "Demographics of Low-Wage Workers," Raise the Minimum Wage, a Project of the National Employment Law Project
    7. "Senator Sanders, Congressional Progressive Caucus Introduce Bill to Raise Federal Minimum Wage to $15," Congressional Progressive Caucus, July 22, 2015
    8. "Pay Workers a Living Wage Act Summary," Senator Bernard Sanders, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Rep. Raul Grijalva
    9. "New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Major Minimum Wage Increase," National Employment Law Project, January 15, 2015
    10. "Senator Sanders, Congressional Progressive Caucus Introduce Bill to Raise Federal Minimum Wage to $15," Congressional Progressive Caucus, July 22, 2015