White House Backs Fair Minimum Wage Act
Earlier this month, the white house announced its official support of a bill in congress which would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The bill (entitled the 2013 Fair Minimum Wage Act) was introduced in both the house of representatives and congress back in March, and calls not only for the federal minimum wage to be increased to $10.10 over the next two years; but also for the minimum wage going forward to be revised annually relative to the consumer price index. Said another way, it calls for the federal minimum wage to mirror the cost of living for average workers, and to rise as the cost of living rises for average Americans. This would be the first ever system of its kind, in which the minimum wage would serve as a yardstick of sorts for modern living standards.
Even $10.10 per hour may not satisfy workers and activists who have been organizing around the issue of poverty wages. Over the past year, fast food workers across the country have gone on strike and demanded a base wage of at least $15 per hour. Striking Walmart employees want the world’s largest private employer to pay its workers a minimum of $25,000 per year, thousands more than a full-time worker making $10.10 per hour would earn.
While prospects of the federal level may still be dim, pro-wage hike activists have made some significant headway on the state and local level. Back in September, the California legislature raised the state’s minimum wage to $10 per hour. More recently, on Nov. 5, New Jersey voters approved a referendum to raise the state’s minimum wage to $8.25, overcoming Gov. Chris Christie’s opposition. On the same day, voters in the town of SeaTac, Wash., voted to make the minimum wage $15 per hour.