October 28, 2014
By Stephanie West
Washington DC – Labor Secretary Tom Perez spoke bluntly last week about the country’s lagging efforts to address the crisis of low-wage work – when asked how the U.S. compares to other advanced economies in raising pay for workers, Perez stated, “I mean, we suck. We really do.”
Perez’s comments followed widely-criticized remarks from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie this week, who announced at a fundraiser at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that he was “tired of hearing about the minimum wage.” Philip Bump at the Washington Post explains how Christie’s dismissive remarks appeal to a long-outdated myth of low-wage workers being teens working for side money: “It isn't parents sitting around kitchen tables worried about their kids getting a bump in their minimum wage jobs. Rather, it's much more likely to be a young mother herself, hoping for a raise in her own paycheck.”
A Steady Drumbeat for $15 Nationwide:
The Student Senate at Ohio University passed a resolution earlier this month calling on the school’s president, Roderick McDavis, to institute a $15 minimum wage for all university employees.
Dozens of workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport protested Monday to demand that the Metropolitan Airports Commission raise pay to $15 per hour.
More than 5,000 workers took action last week to demand that the city of Portland, Oregon, raise pay to $15 per hour for all employees of city contractors. Oregon state Rep. Rob Nosse also announced plans to introduce a proposal raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour during next year’s legislative session.
Workers and community leaders in Tacoma, Washington, have launched a campaign to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, following the historic $15 minimum wages established in neighboring Seattle and SeaTac earlier this year.
Fast-Food Giants Descend on Capitol Hill:
Politico reported Friday that fast-food giants including Burger King, Yum! Brands, Dunkin’ Brands, and the International Franchise Association have descended on Capitol Hill in recent months to lobby members of Congress on the issue of “joint employer” status; the upsurge in lobbying signals “how seriously the business community is treating” this issue in advance of an expected complaint from the NLRB alleging McDonald’s broke the law and should be treated as a joint employer.