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Posted on April 03, 2014
Posted on March 19, 2014
Did you know that the average cost of meeting basic needs for a family of four in Minnesota is over $58,000 annually? At a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, a couple with two children would have to work a total of 155 hours a week just to meet their family's basic needs. That is nearly four full time jobs.
In 2009 the bipartisan Legislative Commission to End Poverty reported six broad recommendations for ending poverty in Minnesota by 2020. The first recommendation in that report was to "restore work as a way out of poverty," with a key component of that recommendation being to raise the minimum wage to $9.50. View the report.
Minnesota's minimum is currently $6.15 an hour - one of the lowest in the nation - although most workers on the minimum wage earn the $7.25 an hour required under federal law. In the 2013 legislative session, A Minnesota Without Poverty came up with the theme "Ketchup to the Cost of Living. Raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2015."
Ketchup bottles with this theme and logo were delivered to all state senators. Since then AMWP has joined the Minimum Wage Coalition to work together to advocate for raising the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2015 - and indexing it to inflation so it keeps its value in future years.
But why use a flashmob to communicate the message to raise the wage?
Caitlyn Wright, a creative intern with A Minnesota Without Poverty, suggested that a flashmob would be a fun, creative, and exciting way to do advocacy work, and promote civic engagement among young people. Friends and acquaintances with some experience working low or minimum wage jobs, particularly those with college degrees, were contacted and invited to participate.
Daonna Lewis, a talented young choreographer from the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts, was engaged to create the dance steps and a teaching video was shared. College students, their professors, nonprofit groups, church staff, high school students and even some legislators learned the dance and participated.
On a brutally cold, sub-zero degree day, 50 dancers and 50 more engaged spectators in the Capitol rotunda danced and laughed their support for raising the wage.
SO, NOW-join the dance. Send your state senator a quick message and encourage them to support a minimum wage increase to $9.50 and index it to inflation. Let's begin to Ketchup to the Cost of Living and Keep Up!
To find your state senator, search "Who Represents Me?" and fill in your zip code.
Posted on February 18, 2014
By Jim Jordal
Minimum wages are again in the news---and should be, since they’ve been slipping in value since the 1970’s. You’ve no doubt seen the figures: Minnesota’s minimum wage of $6.15 per hour is among the lowest in the nation. The federal minimum wage is $7.25. Multiply these wages by perhaps 2000 hours of work per year and you get an annual wage income of $12,300 per worker under Minnesota law and $14,500 under federal standards. Neither one even comes close to meeting basic standards of decency. Perhaps that’s why author and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich said of the notorious penury and inadequacy of minimum wage jobs that "if you want to live indoors, you’ll need two of them."
Why does the idea of a living wage raise such anxiety among proponents of free markets and rising business profitability? Why does it carry such ridiculous appendages as socialism or collectivization? And why is it opposed tooth and nail by Big Business with the sometime claim that minimum wage legislation threatens the Republic?
It’s largely because of inflation, or rather the irrational terror of it that pervades world financial markets.