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Progressives call on Congressional Leaders to Support Raising the Minimum Wage

Dear Sen. Reid, Rep. Boehner, Sen. McConnell, and Rep. Pelosi:

We are reaching out to you today to ask you to support raising the federal minimum wage to $10 per hour. Ten dollars per hour would be slightly less than the minimum wage of 1968, adjusted for inflation. Hard-working Americans across the country cannot afford to wait any longer for Congress to act, as they continue to struggle in a stalled economic recovery.

In the past few years, working people in this country have had to endure devastating economic conditions. In the aftermath of the Wall Street-produced financial crisis, millions were left unemployed, without a home, saddled with enormous college loans, and struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the economy continues to lag, and millions of Americans remain out of work, underpaid, or in low-paying, part-time jobs.

Catching up with 1968 or raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour would help 30 million workers across this country by starting the United States down the road to recovery through an increase in consumer spending. Congress and the President have been ignoring this issue, but we know now is the time to act. Polls regularly show 70 percent of Americans support minimum wage keeping up with inflation, including Rick Santorum and, until recently, Mitt Romney.

Every year that the minimum wage stays the same, minimum wage workers are effectively taking a pay cut. The cost of living increases annually. Meanwhile, inflation devalues what one can buy at the current minimum wage level. Inflation has been allowed to slowly but consistently reduce the purchasing power of a minimum wage for more than four decades.

By not acting, Congress is speaking loud and clear: they are telling minimum wage workers nationwide that they […]

By |August 23rd, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Progressives call on Congressional Leaders to Support Raising the Minimum Wage

Nader to Costco: Raise Minimum Wage

Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader Calls on Costco to Support Raising the Minimum Wage, Help Jumpstart Economy and Increase Consumer Spending

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader sent a letter today to Costco CEO, W. Craig Jelinek, urging the corporation to again support raising the minimum wage to help jumpstart the economy and increase consumer spending.

In 2007, Costco expressed its support for the last increase to the minimum wage. Then-CEO Jim Sinegal said, “The more people make, the better lives they’re going to have and the better consumers they’re going to be.”

Ralph Nader commented in the letter about the minimum wage discrepancy. “The inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage has been in decline since the 1960’s, leaving hard-working Americans across the country with less and less disposable income,” Nader said.

“But raising the minimum wage wouldn’t just benefit the workers;” he continued, “It could benefit businesses too by helping to jumpstart the economy and increase consumer spending,” he continued.

Nader said that raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour would benefit 30 million workers. Nader cited a 2011 Chicago Federal Reserve Bank study that found that for every dollar increase to the hourly wage of a minimum wage worker, the result is $2,800 in new consumer spending annually from that worker’s household. A 2009 Economic Policy Institute study estimated a minimum wage increase to $9.50 would add $60 billion in spending over two years.

Nader pointed out that Costco is already ahead of the curve on this issue, providing better entry-level wages and benefits than its competitors. Costco’s lowest starting wage was $11 per hour in 2010. When “CFO Magazine” asked Costco’s CFO Richard Galanti why they provided such high wages, he replied, “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

In the 2010 […]

By |July 9th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Nader to Costco: Raise Minimum Wage

Ralph Nader: Walmart Raise the Minimum Wage

Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader Calls on Walmart to Support Raising the Minimum Wage, Help Jumpstart Economy and Increase Consumer Spending

In 2005, Walmart first expressed its support of increasing the minimum wage. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader sent a letter to Walmart CEO, Mike Duke today calling on the corporation to again support raising the minimum wage to help jumpstart the economy and increase consumer spending.

“The inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage has been in decline since the 1960’s, leaving hard-working Americans across the country with less and less disposable income,” said Nader. “This could not only help start our economy on the path to recovery, but could have a significant impact on the spending and purchasing power of Walmart customers in particular,” he continued.

Nader said that raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour would benefit 30 million workers. Nader cited a 2011 Chicago Federal Reserve Bank study that found that for every dollar increase to the hourly wage of a minimum wage worker, the result is $2,800 in new consumer spending annually from that worker’s household. A 2009 Economic Policy Institute study estimated a minimum wage increase to $9.50 would add $60 billion in spending over two years.

Nader also highlighted a UC Berkeley study, “Living Wage Policies and Big-Box Retail: How a Higher Wage Standard Would Impact Wal-Mart Workers and Shoppers” to demonstrate that raising employees’ wages would have a minimal impact on either Walmart’s own costs or on its “everyday low prices”. Nader explained that the study shows that if Walmart were to absorb 100 percent of the cost of increasing wages, it would represent a miniscule 0.25 percent of their annual U.S. sales. Conversely, if Walmart were to pass 100 percent of these costs […]

By |July 2nd, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Ralph Nader: Walmart Raise the Minimum Wage

New Poll by John Zogby Finds 70% of Likely Voters Would Support Legislation to Raise the Minimum Wage

A whopping seven out of ten likely voters agree that they would support legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.38 an hour, a level which would tie the wage to inflation, going back to 1968, according to a JZ Analytics online poll of 1149 likely voters. The poll was conducted June 15-18 among 1149 likely voters and has a margin-of-sampling error of +/-3 percentage points.

Fifty-seven percent of Democrats strongly support this proposal, with 84% supporting it overall. Just 23% of Republicans are in strong support, although another 31% somewhat support the proposed change. There is a gender gap here with women, 43%, somewhat more likely than are men, 39%, to strongly support the move. Additionally, Hispanics, 52% and African Americans, 67% are much more likely to be in strong support of the proposal.

Seventy-one percent of the First Global generation (those between the ages of 18-23) are in support, with 38% strongly supporting the measure. Among older respondents, aged 30-49, half strongly support the measure with another 24% somewhat in support.

Pollster John Zogby says: “Not only do Americans worry about losing ground themselves but they also do worry about their fellow Americans who are working and not getting a decent wage.”

*Methodology JZ Analytics conducted an online survey from June 15-18 of 1149 likely voters in the US. Based on a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error for 1149 is +/- 3.0 percentage points.

By |June 22nd, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on New Poll by John Zogby Finds 70% of Likely Voters Would Support Legislation to Raise the Minimum Wage

Ralph Nader on raising the minimum wage

Remarks by Ralph Nader, June 6, 2012

At the Occasion of the Introduction of the “Catching Up To 1968 Act of 2012” Legislation to Raise Minimum Wage to $10 Per Hour

It is time that we catch up with the 1960’s and raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour.

Think about that sobering fact for a second. Even by raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour, it would still remain below the minimum wage (in today’s dollars) in 1968. Candidate Obama in 2008 promised to push for a $9.50 federal minimum wage by 2011.

At a time when the issue of income inequality has been elevated in political discourse, it is surprising that a plight of millions of workers throughout the country hasn’t been addressed: the need to raise the minimum wage. For decades, the compensation packages and bonuses of the top one percent have been skyrocketing. The stagnant or declining wages of the middle and lower class have suffered at the hands of the insatiable greed of the oligarchy.

We live in a land of the absurd: the richest 1 percent controls as much financial wealth as the bottom combined 95 percent. Wall Street executives’ bonuses have reached gut-wrenching heights when Bloomberg News can, in a recent article, portray annual pay of $10 million to $23 million as normal. Nearly 23 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. A single Wall Street executives’ compensation of $15 million would pay the annual wages of over 700 workers working at a minimum wage of $10 per hour.

Instead, the minimum wage has lost value for nearly 45 years. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 is lower than at any point between 1956 and 1985. This, however, is more than a moral […]

By |June 6th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Ralph Nader on raising the minimum wage

Minimum Wage: Catching up with 1968

February 29, 2012

By Ralph Nader

How inert can the Democratic Party be? Do they really want to defeat the Congressional Republicans in the fall by doing the right thing?

A winning issue is to raise the federal minimum wage, stuck at $7.25 since 2007. If it was adjusted for inflation since 1968, not to mention other erosions of wage levels, the federal minimum would be around $10.

Here are some arguments for raising the minimum wage this year to catch up with 1968 when worker productivity was half of what it is today.

1. Pure fairness for millions of hard-pressed American workers and their families. Over 70 percent of Americans in national polls support a minimum wage that keeps up with inflation.

2. Already eighteen states have enacted higher minimum wages led by Washington state to $9.04 an hour. With the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the New York State legislature is considering a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage. The legislature should pass the long-blocked farm workers wage bill at the same time.

3. Since at least 1968, businesses and their executives have been raising prices and their salaries (note: Walmart’s CEO making over $11,000 an hour!) while they have been getting a profitable windfall from their struggling workers, whose federal minimum is $2.75 lower in purchasing power than it was 44 years ago.

4. The tens of billions of dollars that a $10 minimum will provide to consumers’ buying power will create more sales and more jobs. Aren’t economists all saying the most important way out of the recession and the investment stall is to increase consumer spending?

5. Most independent studies collected by the Economic Policy Institute show no decrease in employment following […]

By |June 5th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Minimum Wage: Catching up with 1968