Monday, September 30, 2013

Let Milwaukee County Lead On A Living Wage

On Labor Day, Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen announced that he was going to introduce a resolution that would require any company or agency contracting with Milwaukee County to pay its workers a living wage.

At that time I noted that the City of San Francisco was paying the highest minimum wage in the county at $10.55.  Even though they are paying this rate, none of the doom and gloom predicted by the corporate special interests have occurred.  The city still stands and hasn't burned to the ground by suddenly homeless people when all the jobs went away.

Likewise, the State of Washington raised their minimum wage at the beginning of 2013 and they are not only surviving but they are thriving.  Then again, they had to raise their minimum wage to keep workers from fleeing their state for greener pastures:
The increase translates to $310 a year for the average affected worker. The minimum wage will rise in nine other states, including Northwest neighbors Oregon and Montana. The minimum wage in British Columbia went up last spring to $10.25 (Canadian) an hour.

The hike in low-income wages results from a 1998 ballot initiative, championed by organized labor and opposed by some business groups, that provides annual rate adjustments to keep pace with the rising cost of living.

“Washington’s modest annual minimum wage increases have proven incredibly valuable in promoting economic growth and protecting the real value of low-wage workers’ paychecks during the weak post-recession recovery,” said John Burbank, director of the Economic Opportunity Institute.

“Congress should learn from Washington’s example and pass a federal minimum wage increase with annual cost-of-living advances to promote consumer spending and help cash-strapped workers make ends meet,” Burbank added.
And now we see the entire state of California has just raised their minimum wage as well:
Calling it a "matter of justice," Gov. Jerry Brown put his signature on a bill that will hike California's minimum wage to $10 an hour within three years, making it one of the highest rates in the nation.
The legislation signed Wednesday at a ceremony in downtown Los Angeles will gradually raise the current minimum of $8 an hour to $9 on July 1, 2014, then to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016.

The increase is the first to the state's minimum wage in six years and comes amid a national debate over whether it's fair to pay fast-food workers, retail clerks and others wages so low that they often have to work second or third jobs.

Brown called the bill an overdue piece of legislation that will help working-class families and close the gap between "workers at the bottom and those who occupy the commanding heights of the economy."

The governor was joined by state legislators and business owners who supported the measure, saying increased wages would boost the state's economy.

The state Senate approved AB10 on a 26-11 vote Sept. 12, and the Assembly followed hours later on a 51-25 vote. Both chambers voted largely along party lines.

Miguel Aguilar, a worker at a Los Angeles car wash, thanked the governor for signing the bill.

"We work really long hours," said Aguilar, who has a union contract. "Now, with the increase in the minimum wage, we'll be able to sustain an income that can support our families."

Supporters said the bill by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, would help workers left behind during the recent recession.
Imagine that, actually putting money back into the hands of the public to help improve and maintain the economy. I wonder what Scott Walker would make of this? He's so far has only taken money from the people and given it to his wealthy campaign contributors and benefactors. The only thing he has given the people is a lot of lip service.

I would also ask Supervisor Bowen to include county workers in this resolution.  Thanks to the cuts by County Emperor Abele, there are county workers who are now eligible for public assistance.  This should not be allowed, especially if they are asking contractors to do the same.

Then again, a living wage shouldn't be for just county workers or the workers of county contracted companies, but should be across the board for all workers in the county and the state.  A living wage isn't just an economically good thing, but it is also the moral thing to do.

1 comment:

  1. Yep!

    Capitalism runs on "sales."

    The real job creators are consumers with money to spend.