President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C.
September 4, 2014
Dear President Obama,
After years of advocacy by citizen and labor groups, your party has finally made raising the minimum wage for tens of millions of American workers an election issue for the coming midterms. The question remains, though: will raising the minimum wage simply be that an ‘issue’ with which to slam Republicans without any legislative effort or will it actually be a top legislative priority this
If you and other party leaders are serious about raising the federal minimum wage, you will quickly move beyond rhetoric about raising wages and focus on the concrete pending legislative path to a modest minimum wage raise to $10.10 an hour over three years: namely, Rep. Tim Bishop’s discharge petition to bring raising the minimum wage to a vote. Rep. Bishop’s petition has 195 signatures already and needs only 23 more to bypass Speaker Boehner’s obstruction and force a vote on raising the minimum wage. These 23 signatures are the direct path to a longawaited raise for millions of American workers: in the words of Rep. George Miller, who sponsored the bill, “when it comes to the floor, it will pass… we just need a vote.” Passage in the House will ensure the 60 votes needed for Senate passage for by then the political and electoral heat will get the needed fencesitting Senators. And yet, since the petition’s introduction in late February, there has been little to no effort by Democratic leaders to pressure poverty and laborminded Republicans to sign. You did not even mention HR 1010 or its discharge petition in your Labor Day speech on the minimum wage.
With a [...]
During a recent talk at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson indicated his support for legislation in Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. “I will tell you we will support legislation that moves forward,” he said. Later in the talk, Mr. Thompson continued, “McDonald’s will be fine. We’ll manage through whatever the additional cost implications are.” It turns out that, contrary to the stale Republican talking points, one of the largest low-wage employers in the country does not have a problem with a higher minimum wage
We have been vigorously advocating for a raise in the federal minimum wage for several years now. Much progress has been made in that time. Unfortunately, little of this progress has come in the halls of Congress, leaving cities and states across the country to do the work that our national leaders won’t do.
Twenty two states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages that are higher than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In 2014 alone, seven states (Connecticut ($10.10 per hour by 2017), Delaware ($8.25 per hour by 2015), Hawaii ($10.10 per hour by 2018), Maryland ($10.10 per hour by 2018), Michigan ($9.25 per hour by 2018), Minnesota ($9.50 per hour by 2016) and West Virginia ($8.75 by 2016)) plus the District of Columbia ($11.50 per hour by 2016) have signed minimum wage increases into law. And Vermont’s legislature also recently passed legislation to raise their minimum wage to $10.50 by 2018, but it awaits action from Governor Peter Shumlin. Many cities have also decided not to wait on Washington: Seattle ($15 per hour by 2017), San Francisco ($10.74 per hour), Santa Fe ($10.66 per hour), and San Jose ($10.15 [...]
Labor Scholars, Women’s Groups, and Walmart Activists Challenge Hillary Clinton to Use Her Walmart Influence to Raise Women’s Wages
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pete Davis, Time for a Raise campaign / 347-453-3135 / PDavis@CSRL.org
LABOR SCHOLARS, WOMEN’S GROUPS, AND WALMART ACTIVISTS
CHALLENGE HILLARY CLINTON TO USE HER WALMART INFLUENCE
TO RAISE WOMEN’S WAGES
Dozens of labor scholars, women’s groups, and Walmart activists issued a letter today asking Hillary Clinton to use her deep Walmart ties to urge the mega-retailer to raise wages for their predominantly-female workforce.
The Walmart Corporation is the largest employer in the United States, employing about one in every hundred Americans. Walmart pays hundreds of thousands of their workers less per hour, adjusted for inflation, than minimum wage workers made 46 years ago. Seventy percent of the positions subject to Walmart’s hourly poverty wage regime are held by women. Walmart could empower hundreds of thousands of female workers by paying all of their workers at least $10.92, which is the inflation-adjusted wage that the lowest paid Walmart workers — under the leadership of their founder, Sam Walton — earned in the late 1960’s.
In 1986, Hillary Clinton became Walmart’s first female director. During her six years as a Walmart board member from 1986-1992, she pushed for women’s empowerment in management, but did not publicly champion the wage plight of Walmart’s predominantly-female hourly workers. With this letter, labor scholars (including University of Pennsylvania Professor Adolph Reed, as well as the President of the Southern Labor Studies Association), women’s groups (including Georgia Women for Change and the Maine Women’s Lobby) and Walmart wage activists (including consumer advocate Ralph Nader, Sprawlbuster’s Al Norman and Beverly Moreton, author of To Serve God and Walmart) are challenging Clinton to expand her push for Walmart women’s empowerment to their hourly workforce.
The letter cites specific ties between Walmart and Clinton [...]
April 22, 2014
Dear Hillary Clinton,
As First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and in your recent work with the Clinton Global Initiative, you have advocated for the cause of women’s empowerment around the world. Today we write to ask you to also join us in an important women’s empowerment initiative here at home. It involves an area to which you have a special connection and thus presents you, specifically, with an important responsibility to make a direct difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of American women and an indirect difference in millions more.
The Walmart Corporation is the largest employer in the United States, employing about one in every hundred Americans. Unfortunately, America’s largest employer sets a horrible example with its miserly wage policy. Walmart pays hundreds of thousands of their workers less per hour, adjusted for inflation, than minimum wage workers made 46 years ago. With rising housing, health and transportation costs, Walmart workers cannot make ends meet on less than $10, $9 or even, for some, $8 an hour. The cashiers and hourly sales associates at the White Plains Walmart close to your house, for example, live in a city with a living wage of — as estimated by the MIT Living Wage Calculator — $13.05, but most hourly Walmart workers are paid thousands of dollars per year below that standard. It’s no surprise that one Walmart manager even admitted this disconnect between Walmart pay and fair pay by placing a bin out last holiday season to solicit donations from customers for his own needy workers.
Seventy percent of the positions subject to Walmart’s hourly poverty wage regime are held by women. Most of these women are managed by men, [...]
Excerpted from a Ralph Nader op-ed at USA Today.
The long-standing effort to raise the federal minimum wage is approaching showdown time. Opinion polls show consistent support for a raise across the political spectrum. Cities from Washington to San Jose have passed significant local increases, and more are on the way. Last week, President Obama upped the ante with a push for higher overtime pay.
Scared, the same corporate establishment who declared through the National Association of Manufactures in 1937 that the minimum wage would be “a step in the direction of communism, bolshevism, fascism and Nazism” has resorted to spewing out every broken-record argument in the book. Though the minimum wage has been increased 22 times without calamity, the broken record continues to spin. This tune is getting tedious.
Read the full op-ed at USA Today