Skip to comments.More Than 80 Protest in Iowa City Over $7.25 Minimum Wage
Posted on 10/04/2013 2:43:28 PM PDT by mdittmar
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Workers clad in red shirts wielded colorful signs marched on the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall, as the group of 80 chanted over and over, "Can't survive on $7. 25."
Local workers and supporters demanded stronger enforcement of wage payment laws and increasing the minimum wage at a rally on Thursday. They insisted the current rate of $7.25 an hour is not enough to support their families.
Everything keeps going up, said Valentine Ruiz, a local worker from Lone Tree. Why doesnt the minimum wage increase?
The last minimum wage increase was in 2009 as part of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. President Barack Obama proposed raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 in the next few years, during his February State of the Union speech. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., later proposed the Fair Minimum Wage of 2013, which would raise the minimum wage over the next three years to $10.10 by 2015.
The Harkin-Miller bill also calls for increasing wages for tipped workers, who can be paid as low as 60 percent of the minimum wage at $4.35 an hour. The proposal also calls for indexing minimum wage with inflation, which would adjust the rate annually and automatically.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 25,000 Iowa workers were paid minimum wage in 2012, while another 21,000 made below minimum wage.
Hans Isakson, economic professor at the University of Northern Iowa, said an increased minimum wage can force business owners to make tough decisions.
There will be plenty of employers who then cut back on the hours of their workers, Isakson said. Theyll cut back hours or might lay some people off.
A study from the Iowa Policy Project disputes claims jobs would be lost and said if the minimum wage was increased to $10.10 under Harkins proposed bill that would generate $51.5 billion in raises to millions of workers over the three increases and increase GDP by $33 billion as workers spend at local businesses. The increased economic activity could add 140,000 new jobs, the report said. A study from the Economic Policy Institute estimated the bill would affect about 332,000 Iowans.
When everyone in a community can afford to pay rent and buy from a local grocery store that helps everyone, including local business owners, said Misty Rebik, executive director of Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa and organizer of Thursdays rally. The event was organized by CWJ and the Iowa City Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
The rally also addressed stronger wage payment laws. Ruiz, 48, said a court case proved a former employer owed him $1,600 in unpaid wages and he has yet to receive what he said hes owed.
John Solow, economic professor at the University of Iowa, said minimum wage is largely a political decision as politicians respond to constituents calls for higher wages, but with the current onslaught of economic issues he said Washington D.C. is a little tied up.
Right now the fact that the government is shut down and the debt ceiling needs to be raised within the next two weeks and the U.S. might default on its debt, the consequences of that are far more troubling, Solow said.
Think I started out at $3.25 an hour when I was a kid,never been a union member,worked hard,I'm doing o.k. now,7 weeks paid vacation ain't bad;)
Prices keep going up because the government keeps running up the debt. Stop collecting food stamps and you will help us out of this mess.
And, by the way, if minimum wage is increased, some of you may lose your jobs. Your employer may not be able to justify employing you. How would you like that?
Haven’t they heard that there is no inflation in this utopia?
$1.55 for me. I must be more than a tad older than you.
Not that I ever got the $1.55, as farm labor was exempt from minimum wage and was set at $0.50 per hour in my area. 10 hour day, 5 bucks.
That's when I was really young;)
should’ve paid attention in high school then!
Finally, and thank Goodness it’s, “ “Can’t survive on $7. 25.”
So sick of “what do we want, (blank). “When do we want it, now”!
Maybe these people at $7.25 should work harder & get promoted or change jobs after they have good experience working hard. No. Work hard...that would be demeaning and likely racist.
furloughed senseless bureau employees say: we know your pain.
Then there was the time in high school I served at a Polish wedding with my friend, which consisted of serving, clearing, washing by hand and drying plates, glasses, silverware, and cups and saucers for 200 people, and THEN we had to do the pots and pans, and wound up with a whole FIVE DOLLARS! And that was for the night, not per hour. I did that once. So they can take their $7.25 and hr. and shove it if they don't like it.
Young, inexperienced persons capable of working satisfactorily only at the starting level were not thought to be supporting families. That phase of life is to be initiated later.
You’re not supposed to “survive on $7.25”. You’re supposed to be a high school kid or a someone who needs some supplementary income. Nothin’ else to say about it.
Do these morons really believe a raise in min wage would improve their lot? Raise the min wage and everything else goes up in price, too. If they can’t live off min. wage, then, gee, I dunno, maybe they should learn a skill/job that pays a living wage, duhhh.
Think I started out at $3.25 an hour when I was a kid...”
My first job in high school was as a sales clerk in a very exclusive women’s clothing store at a whopping $.76 an hour. After college my first real job was with TWA as a flight attendant at $244.00 a month. Thought I had made the big time even though I had to pay for my own uniforms and food on layovers.
Started my own business in 1985 and have worked my way backward to closer to the $.76 an hour rate again but wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
I got $1.50 plus tips. Not a lot of tips from 5 am coffee drinkers in a little joint with 5 tables. I found out later that the with holding and SS never found it’s way out of the owner’s wallet so in reality, less than $1.50.
I was working the cotton fields from 9 years old. I’m 68 now, so the hard work didn’t kill me.