Perhaps due to months of protesting by fast food workers, the minimum wage in 21 states will increase in the year 2015 starting on January 1st. This is the first time ever that a majority of the states have higher minimum wages than the federal level.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the increases will lift the hourly wages of more than two million workers by up to $1 to an average of $8 and a high of $9.15. And according to USA Today, another 1.9 million workers who make more than minimum wage are also expected to benefit from a higher pay scale.
Experts say the changes are partly due to the impact of a national movement in 2013 and 2014 to boost the earnings of low-paid workers.
Last year, legislation was passed in the following states to increase minimum wage:
* New York
* Rhode Island
* West Virginia
* South Dakota
The following states, however, raised minimum wage as a result of automatic cost-of-living increases:
* New Jersey
More Good News
The news gets even better! According to EPI and the National Employment Law Project, as soon as March, 29 states with 60% of the U.S. work force will have minimum wages higher than the federal government’s.
article via blog.lowincome.org
WASHINGTON — President Obama‘s executive order to raise the minimum wage for workers under future federal contracts includes a key provision to address concerns raised by advocates for disabled workers, according to the White House.
The president, who is set to sign the order at a ceremony in the White House East Room on Wednesday afternoon, announced his plan to take unilateral action at last month’s State of the Union Address and hike the minimum wage for low-wage workers to $10.10 from the current rate of $7.25.
Almost immediately after announcing his plan, advocates for the physically and intellectually disabled began pressing the White House to include the group among those getting raises. Under a government program that dates back to 1938, employers could pay certain disabled workers subminimum wages — sometimes for a fraction of the prevailing minimum wage.
But with Obama’s executive order, that practice will be discontinued with disabled workers laboring under federal contracts in the future. “Under current law, workers whose productivity is affected because of their disabilities may be paid less than the wage paid to others doing the same job under certain specialized certificate programs.” The White House says Obama will continue to push Congress to back legislation that would gradually raise the minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 by the end of his presidency, but the effort faces stiff resistance in the GOP-controlled House.
The executive order is intended to cover people who perform janitorial, kitchen work and other low-wage services on behalf of federal contractors. The action is eventually expected to help roughly 250,000 workers, but it is unclear how many of those are disabled workers who receive subminimum wage under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Continue reading “Obama to Include Disabled Workers in Minimum Wage Order”
An Obama administration official confirmed that President Barack Obama will sign an executive order today to set the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for workers under federal contract. Low-wage workers who called on Obama to issue the order are expected to be present when the signing takes place at the White House. Exactly who will be covered under the new order will be made public during the event as well as other details, according to the official.
The signing of executive order confirms the policy proposal Obama explained during his recent State of the Union address. In light a minimum wage bill not being passed by the Senate or the House since he initially proposed raising the wage last February, the commander-in-chief took matters into his own hands with a vow to hike the wage-floor himself regarding workers under federal contracts.
“I’m eager to work with all of you,” Obama shared with lawmakers during the State of the Union. “But America does not stand still — and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”
The minimum wage increase won’t be the only thing put into effect by the executive order. An outline released by the White House earlier this month states the order will tie the contractors’ minimum wage to an inflation index.
The signing caps off a history of struggle by labor groups and progressive members of Congress to get the president to sign such an order in the months leading up to his State of the Union address. The effort hit home for workers employed by federal contractors, who participated in one-day walkouts to protest low pay.
article via eurweb.com
President Barack Obama supports legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10 per, a White House official confirmed to TIME. “The President has long supported raising the minimum wage so hardworking Americans can have a decent wage for a day’s works to support their families and make ends meet, and he supports the Harkin/Miller bill that accomplishes this important goal,” the official said.
The Harkin/Miller bill, officially named the Fair Minimum Wage Act, would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 per hour. First proposed in March by Democrats Tom Harkin in the Senate and George Miller in the House, it would raise the minimum wage 95 cents a year over two years, and would include some tax benefits for small businesses who are traditionally the hardest hit with minimum wage hikes. Small businesses usually oppose raising the minimum wage, but previous wage increases have been matched with tax favors that sweeten the blow.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York told the New York Times that most of the Democratic caucus supports the bill, and that the party is preparing to mobilize behind it. In his State of the Union address in February, Obama called for the minimum wage to be raised to $9 per hour. “We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages,” Obama said. “But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong.”
The higher target of $10 comes as Democrats look to mobilize supporters and put Republicans on the defensive ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, when the party hopes to recapture the House. A higher minimum wage would have the greatest impact on workers under 25, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About half of all workers under 25 earn the minimum wage or less. Just three percent of those 25 and older earn that little.
Read more: President Obama May Raise Minimum Wage to $10 Per Hour | TIME.com http://nation.time.com/2013/11/07/obama-supports-10-minimum-wage/#ixzz2k66ylhQi