Minimum Wage, Maximum Win!
As I sit here in Newark Airport waiting to head back to Hogtown from a whirlwind visit to my hometown, I think the official 7 Days @ Minimum Wage press release says it all
Press Release: November 7, 2006–Election Day
AFL-CIO/ACORN Minimum Wage Campaign Celebrates Resounding Success With Ballot Initiative Wins in AZ, CO, MO, MT, NV and OH
(Washington, DC) – By overwhelming margins, voters in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, and Ohio today approved measures raising state minimum wage levels by $1 to $1.70 an hour and indexing them to inflation. The ballot wins culminate multi-year struggles to collect signatures and place the initiatives on statewide ballots and mobilize public opinion in favor of them.
“We did the job Congress refused to do,” said Maude Hurd, President of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). “Millions of families across the country will benefit, and it proves most Americans believe hard work deserves fair pay.”
John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, said the union-community coalition driving the minimum wage movement will use the momentum generated by the six wins to insist that Congress raise the federal minimum wage when it reconvenes in January.
“All workers in all states need a raise,” he said, noting that the federal minimum wage hasn’t been increased in 10 years. “Once we got on the ballots in each state, it didn’t take much to convince voters that paying someone $5.15 an hour is just immoral.”
With the addition of the six states, 28 states and the District of Columbia have now passed legislation or approved ballot initiatives raising their state minimums above the federal minimum.
In Arizona, passage of Proposition 202 will give an estimated 345,000 workers, about 13 percent of the private sector work force, a raise to $6.75 an hour. More than one million Arizonans (workers ands family members) will benefit.
Amendment 42 in Colorado raises the minimum wage to $6.85 an hour for 138,000 workers. Issue 2 in Ohio also boosts the state minimum wage to $6.85 an hour and will benefit 720,000 workers. In Missouri, Proposition B will create a wage hike from $5.15 to $6.50 an hour for an estimated 256,000 workers.
ACORN and the AFL-CIO joined forces in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Ohio, leading coalitions that included allies like Jobs With Justice, Let Justice Roll, state affiliates of the National Education Association, the Brennan Center for Justice, 9to5/National Association of Working Women and unions including AFSCME, SEIU, UFCW and the Teamsters. In Montana and Nevada, coalitions were led by the AFL-CIO.
A unique ACORN/AFL-CIO video blog hosted by actor-comic Roseanne Barr — 7Days@Minimum Wage — drew more than 50,000 viewers through YouTube to witness full-time workers telling what it’s like to live on the minimum wage.
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