We like numbers! We’ve previously identified 10 reasons why raising the minimum wage is a women’s issue. Well, we’ve been crunching some new employment and wage data and wanted to share these new six facts (and a chart!) that underscore why it’s critical to raise the minimum wage and advance equal pay and equal opportunity for women:
Three-quarters: The share of workers in the 10 largest low-wage occupations (defined in this analysis as those with median hourly wages of less than $10.10 per hour) who are women (76 percent), compared to 47 percent of all workers who are women.
Need a date this Valentine’s Day? The minimum wage does. Americans United for Change just launched a campaign that focuses less on roses and chocolates and more on Speaker of the House John Boehner (not your traditional Valentine’s Day sweet talk, I admit). The goal? Setting a date for the House to vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act. And this isn’t the only love minimum wage campaigns are getting this week. At the national and state level, efforts to raise the minimum wage are picking up steam.
Here in D.C., Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) marked a cold and snowy 2/13 with events and social media activity to remind Capitol Hill that the federal tipped minimum wage has been set at $2.13 since 1991 – overwhelmingly affecting restaurant servers, the largest group of tipped workers (71 percent of whom are women). On Wednesday, I was lucky enough to join other advocates to watch President Obama sign an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers, while calling for passage of the federal bill to raise the wage for all workers. “America deserves a raise,” he said – and it’s clear that legislators around the country agree. Read more »
During a week of much minimum wage excitement, Delaware state lawmakers did something pretty remarkable: A raise to the state’s minimum wage passed the state House and the state Senate and received the governor’s signature – all in one day.
Of course, advocates had been working to raise the minimum wage for some time, but Delaware’s minimum wage earners, of whom nearly two-thirds are women, are now set to see their hourly pay rise from $7.25 to $7.75 per hour on June 1, and to $8.25 starting on June 1, 2015.
Although it’s hard to imagine, many Americans who work on federal contracts are paid very low wages. One survey of federal-contract employees found that 74 percent earn less than $10 an hour, one in five depend on Medicaid for their healthcare [PDF], and 14 percent rely on food stamps. Once the minimum wage is in effect for employees on new federal services contracts, there are some families that will immediately be pulled out of poverty, and many others that will see a tangible improvement in their economic well-being. Raising pay for these workers is an important step toward raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for all workers, which would lift millions more out of poverty and – because women are the majority of workers who would benefit – would help close the wage gap.
This great news from the White House also highlights the critical steps the President can take on his own to lift American families out of poverty and close the wage gap. Here’s what President Obama could do next to ensure that women earn their fair share: Read more »
Did you catch the President’s State of the Union address last night? I’m glad I did. He set forth an ambitious but pragmatic agenda to reverse the trends of widening economic inequality and stalling wage growth and upward mobility. Many of the solutions he proposed – like expanding access to affordable, quality pre-K and promoting more family-friendly workplaces – would particularly benefit women. The same is true of another policy for which the President advocated forcefully: raising the minimum wage.
As the President observed, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour “is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan [took office].” Full-time minimum wage earnings amount to just $14,500 in a year, leaving a mother with two children thousands of dollars below the poverty line. Today’s low minimum wage especially harms women and their families, since women are nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers – and about two-thirds of tipped workers like restaurant servers, for whom the federal minimum cash wage has been frozen at just $2.13 an hour for 23 years.
Last night, President Obama committed to using his executive authority to advance the minimum wage by issuing an order requiring that workers on new federal services contracts be paid at least $10.10 an hour, “because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.” And he called on business leaders and state and local governments to do what they can to raise wages, too. But he also recognized that only an act of Congress can ensure that the minimum wage is raised for all workers across the country. Read more »
The first BLS jobs report of the new year gives us a chance to look back at 2013 and take stock of how women are faring in the labor force. It turns out December was a wacky month, and not just because of the weather. Job gains were much smaller than expected and yet unemployment rates dropped. Here’s what you need to know:Read more »
I believe that To Do lists are an art form. There’s nothing more beautiful than a list of things you need to get done with every single item crossed off of it. Crossing off an action item gives me such a sense of accomplishment that I usually put things I’ve already done on the list, just to cross them off.
In a major speech yesterday about economic mobility, President Obama shared one of his To Do lists with us. The items on this list are much more important than the ones on my usual lists. These items are the legislative and administrative priorities that will help fix the growing problem of income inequality in the United States.
Before sharing his “roadmap” with us, the President started with a reality check. He was blunt about the fact that our economy has become profoundly unequal and families have become more insecure. He drove home the point that we are living in a country that once promised success for those who worked hard, but is now faced with rapidly rising inequality and decreasing upward mobility in a way that “challenges the essence of who we are as a people.” Each fall NWLC analyzes the poverty data put out by the Census bureau, and those sobering statistics illustrate exactly what the President is talking about. I couldn’t agree more with the President when he said that these trends are bad for families, bad for the economy, bad for social cohesion, and bad for democracy. Read more »
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, the holiday shopping season is officially in full swing. But while some of us retreat to the internet to avoid frenzied shoppers at the mall, the season is far more stressful for many of the workers restocking store shelves and serving meals in the food court (and not just because they have to deal with swarms of cranky customers). For millions of employees in retail, fast food, and other industries that pay poverty-level wages, the end of the year means hard work and higher expenses – without any chance of a holiday bonus.
Fortunately, there’s movement on the minimum wage in a number of states and localities – and even some encouraging signs nationally. Today, in a major speech on economic mobility, President Obama renewed his call to raise the minimum wage. Recognizing the link between the low minimum wage and widening economic inequality, he described an increase as a key piece of an agenda to restore opportunity for all. Read more »