Raise the Minimum Wage
In the past 40 years the federal minimum wage has lost more
than 30% of its value and would today be more than $10.60 per hour if it had
kept pace with the cost of living. The federal minimum wage for tipped workers
(currently $2.13 per hour) has not increased in over 20 years.
During the month of March we have honored women and their contributions as part of Women’s History Month, but we know that we must continue to work for justice for women and their families throughout the year to come. While raising the minimum wage would positively impact 28 million Americans, this change would be especially important for women, who disproportionately hold low-wage jobs. Women make up 47% of the overall workforce, but hold 76% of the jobs in the ten largest low-wage occupations
(occupations that typically pay
less than $10.10 an hour). These occupations include childcare workers,
cashiers, home health aides, waiters and waitresses, and food preparers.
Our current federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) does not
provide economic security for women and their families. A woman working full
time, year round at the federal minimum wage earns just $14,500—a meager salary
which can’t always cover even basic expenses such as groceries and utilities.
Rather than providing security and opportunity, the minimum wage is imposing
poverty upon millions of hard-working Americans.
Congress now has the
opportunity to pass the Fair Minimum Wage
Act of 2013. This legislation would raise the federal minimum wage to
$10.10 an hour, increase the tipped minimum wage to 70% of the minimum wage,
and index both rates to keep pace with the rising cost of living.
As most of the job creation after the Great Recession has
fallen into low-wage categories, raising the minimum wage is now more important
- Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour
would boost the income of nearly 28 million workers, 55% of them women.
- This increase would move millions of women closer to economic
stability and would also strengthen the economy.
- Increasing the minimum wage for low-wage workers
results in lower employee turnover, boosts worker efforts and morale, and
encourages employers to invest in their workers.
Addressing economic inequality is one of our 2014
legislative priorities and addressing the minimum wage is an important piece of this effort. As people of faith, we offer a unique message to
those with the power to impact the well-being of our workers. Please join us in
calling upon Congress to do the right thing.
Our Scripture is
clear in its call for the fair and just treatment of laborers, as we hear in
Deuteronomy 24 and Isaiah 65, which lift up a vision in which all participate
in and share in the fruits of human labor. Tell your elected officials to
support the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013.
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