TURNING MINIMUM WAGE INTO A LIVABLE WAGE
Since 2008, the Federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour. Since that time, however, inflation has continued to rise, with a cumulative rate of 10.7%. Simply put, the current minimum wage isn’t as effective in reducing poverty and increasing the standard of living for workers as it once was. While the costs of goods and services have risen steadily over the years, wages for low income workers have remained stagnant, resulting in increased hardship for those in our communities with the least opportunities.
Members of the Louisville Metro Council, however, are taking steps to alleviate this predicament, introducing a proposal to raise the minimum wage for workers in Jefferson County to $10.10 an hour by 2017.
From the Courier-Journal:
As drafted, the ordinance — sponsored by [Councilwoman Attica] Scott and fellow Democratic council members Barbara Shanklin (2nd), Cheri Bryant Hamilton (5th), David James (6th) and Tom Owen (8th) — would boost the mimimum wage to at least $8.10 an hour on July 1; $9.15 on July 1, 2016; and $10.10 by July 1, 2017.
“Costs for gas, groceries, everything continue to rise. Everything has gone up, except wages,” Scott said. “The economic recovery has not helped people at the bottom.”
She said the higher guaranteed wage would increase consumer purchasing power and thus help business.
This proposal follows on the heels of a recent push by the Obama administration to raise the Federal minimum wage in order to curb the growing gap in income inequality. On September 1, the President renewed his call to raise the Federal minimum wage at a speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. President Obama challenged Congress to enact legislation that would echo his recent executive order requiring Federal contractors to pay employees a minimum of $10.10 an hour. That executive order, which was issued by President Obama in February of this year, applies to new contracts entered into with the Federal government after January 1, 2015, as well as replacements for expiring contracts.
All of these developments point to good news on the horizon for low income workers: wages will be increasing soon. It’s likely only a matter of time.