Gap, Inc. raises the minimum wage for its associates.
Gap says this move will raise pay for 65,000 of its 90,000 employees.
This is a great first step, but here’s why the Gap has a long way to go.
St. Mary’s College in Maryland proposes tying its president’s salary to janitor pay.
Michael Hitzlik: CBO report should “end the discussion” on raising the minimum wage.
Key Quote: “The CBO report creates a big problem for opponents of the minimum-wage increase: What’s the argument against it? They can cite those projected job losses as much as they want, but on the other side are increased wages for 16.5 million people and an end of poverty for 900,000. Sound bites aside, that’s a bargain.”
Bank of America settles class action suit with 13 million customers to the tune of $410 million.
Will President Obama’s next budget contain Social Security cuts?
The real fault line in the Democratic Party is education “reform.”
Finally: How pro-austerity groups lost the deficit wars.
Minnesota Representative Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) did something at the grocery store he had never done before.
“I had never scrutinized prices while food shopping to this extent,” he said, “I even weighed two different kinds of potatoes to see where I could catch a break.”
Rep. Hornstein is one of five Minnesota lawmakers taking the Working America Minimum Wage Challenge. Reps. Hornstein, John Lesch, Karen Clark, Metsa, and Shannon Savick are living this week as if they made $7.25 an hour, an effort to raise awareness of the minimum wage as legislators consider increasing it to $9.50 by 2015.
From grocery shopping to transportation, Rep. Hornstein is already “feeling the ‘challenge’ part of the minimum wage challenge.”
“I decided to take transit to the Capitol because that would allow for three extra dollars for food,” he reported.
Luckily, the Minneapolis lawmaker lives and works in the same area, and has access to a robust public transit system. Rep. Shannon Savick, who hails from Wells, isn’t so lucky: she has a two hour drive to work.
“The transportation budget is going to be very tight because I need to make a few drives for work that will take up nearly all of it,” she told us, “These challenges really go to show just how difficult it can be for low wage workers to get by on the minimum wage alone.”
With the $35 per week food budget, Rep. Savick is trying to go without. “I think I’m doing well with the food budget mostly by eating a little less and essentially skipping breakfast,” adding that her lunch two days in a row consisted of “a cup of soup and some milk.”
“Dinner was a bag of Ramen noodles for under $1,” said Hornstein, “After one day I am realizing that living on this budget forces choices all the time.”
The low-wage workers we’ve talked to all mention these forced choices; whether it’s choosing between medicine and food or between paying the heating bill or buying diapers for their kids. “Today’s effective minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or $15,080 a year for a full-time worker, is not enough to meet basic needs—not for an individual or a family,” writes John Clay of the Jobs Now Coalition. “A Minnesota family of two full-time working adults with two children, each worker must earn $14.03 per hour to cover the cost of basic needs.”
As much as they try to plan their budgets, being constantly cognizant of every cent has its limits. To stretch his food dollars, Rep. Hornstein tried breakfast at the McDonald’s down the street from the Capitol. “I got a glass of orange juice with my dollar breakfast burrito which added another $1.79 to the tab,” he said, “I won’t make that mistake again.”
Tags: Frank Hornstein, minimum wage, minimum wage challenge, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Shannon Savick
One of the first issues the Minnesota legislature will deal with when their session starts on February 25 is the question of raising the minimum wage. A new poll from the Star Tribune shows that supporters of increasing the minimum wage are in good company.
79 percent of all Minnesotans support raising the minimum wage, ten points higher than a year ago.
That majority includes 83 percent of women, 85 percent of independents, 78 percent of those living in Greater Minnesota, and even 58 percent of Republicans.
While not everyone agreed exactly on the $9.50 target, very few Minnesotans polled believe that the current state minimum wage of $6.15 is sufficient. (The state minimum wage is $6.15 but is superseded by the federal minimum of $7.25.)
In fact, what the poll didn’t allow for is for respondents to express a desire for a minimum wage higher than $9.50. “I think it should be more. It should be a minimum of $10. Minimum,” 51 year-old temp worker Jeff Richard told the Star Tribune. “I don’t know how someone working for less would possibly live.”
Five Minnesota representatives are taking the Working America Minimum Wage Challenge this week to raise awareness about the issue. They are all spending the week on a minimum wage budget, which includes $35 for food.
Minnesota legislators receive a $66 per diem on top of their salary, which might make the experience of a minimum wage worker seem foreign to them. Reps. Clark, Hornstein, Lesch, Metsa, and Savick are looking to change that.
These representatives all in favor of Rep. Ryan Winkler’s bill to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2015 and tie it to inflation, which passed the House last year. The poll shows that the public is firmly behind them.
“This clearly indicates that a broad swath of Minnesotans believe that this is the way to go,” said Brian Rusche, co-chair of the Minnesota Raise the Wage Coalition.
Follow the Working America Minimum Wage Challenge at WorkingMinnesota.org.
Tags: jason metsa, minimum wage, minimum wage challenge, Minnesota
McDonald’s franchisee will pay $206,000 in back pay to exploited workers.
Key Quote: “Today, some of the most vulnerable workers in America—immigrant guestworkers—won a major victory not only for themselves, but for the U.S. workers alongside them.”
Starved of Medicaid funds, a fourth hospital has shut down in Georgia.
What’s wrong with the CBO report on raising the minimum wage?
Myths and facts about raising the minimum wage in Minnesota.
Related: Economist Dean Baker busts up the myths in the CBO report on minimum wage.
New Mexico Democrats seeking to pass a minimum wage increase as a constitutional amendment.
And in Missouri, organizers looking to put the issue of early voting on the 2014 ballot.
How they see the Chattanooga vote back at VW HQ in Germany.
VW labor rep: If Southern workers aren’t unionized, we may not build there anymore.
Finally: Meet the “Elizabeth Warren Democrats.”
Happy 5th Birthday to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act!
Key Quote: “A year after it passed, the percentage of Americans who believed it had created jobs was lower than the percentage of Americans who believed Elvis was alive. But after an epic financial crisis, the Recovery Act did launch a recovery. The economy started growing again in summer 2009. It started adding jobs again in spring 2010.”
A portrait of Time Warner’s active role in ALEC.
The human cost of refusing to expand Medicaid.
Pennsylvanians recognizing the real goals of so-called “paycheck protection.”
Montana case isn’t unique: people get fired for getting pregnant all the time.
In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton raised taxes on the top bracket, and his approval rating has never been higher.
The privatization agenda of K-12, Inc. is on the line in the 2014 election.
Don’t look now, but Congress might actually pass a bipartisan voting rights bill.
Finally: Cartoon of the Day.
For many kids, snow days can be hungry days.
John Nichols breaks down the “works council” idea that could soon be implemented in Chattanooga.
Key Quote: “By supporting the use of work sharing (agreeing to reduce everyone’s hours rather than laying some people off), for example, these councils helped Germany experience less unemployment during the Great Recession and a faster, more robust, recovery since then.”
Polling shows Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Rob Portman (R-OH) are being harshly punished for filibustering UI.
Michigan gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer formally vows to repeal “right to work” if elected.
Missouri voter suppression bill could disenfranchise 220,000 voters.
Big Government Alert! Wisconsin Republicans working to preempt cities and towns from passing “living wage” laws.
Meanwhile, Scott Walker flies to high dollar fundraisers, spends $250,000 on private jets.
Finally: Illinois vies to be the next state to enact a statewide paid sick days ordinance.
President Obama will sign minimum wage increase for federal contractors today.
Low-wage federal contractors react: “Together, we made history.”
House passes clean debt ceiling increase through March 2015.
Here’s a suggestion: let’s fix the debt ceiling for good.
Florida county deliberately shuts down polling locations in minority-heavy areas.
Will Democrats kill the filibuster completely next year?
Tea Party Republican and L.A. Democrat team up on mobility legislation.
House Democrats won’t let up on Speaker Boehner on immigration reform.
Key Quote: “Mr. Speaker, you are not going to be spared. Kids will keep showing up to interrupt your breakfast as long as their parents are facing deportation and their communities are being ripped apart.”
Finally: States could recoup a billion dollars by closing one corporate tax loophole.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) spends a night in a homeless shelter.
Republicans running out of excuses on fixing our broken immigration system.
Immigration reform that only focuses on enforcement could cause a sharp rise in food prices.
Key Quote: “Over five years, an enforcement-only approach would lead to losses in farm income large enough to trigger large-scale restructuring of the sector, higher food prices and greater dependence on imported products.”
We wouldn’t be surprised if TPP comes up in Democratic primaries.
As the Moral movement gains steam, we are all North Carolina now.
Unbelievable. Ohio Republicans still looking to limit early voting.
Who needs “right to work” laws? Missouri is leading the country for technology startups.
Related: Missouri legislators could learn a lesson from Mizzou football players.
Finally: IBEW member makes Olympic appearance in Sochi.
15 photos from the enormous Moral March in Raleigh this past weekend.
Faces of the protest: protesters of all faiths, races, and creeds.
Editorial: Moral March protest shows mainstream, not fringe.
Key Quote: The people in the streets holding signs and chanting are not people they consider ‘the mainstream’ or ‘real Americans.’”
Advocates submit 43,000 signatures to put increasing the minimum wage on the Alaska ballot.
Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy joins the call for $10.10 minimum wage by 2017
Minimum wage momentum felt even in Kentucky, where House passed an increase.
Michigan law prohibiting grad student union thrown out by federal judge.
After victories in Jersey City and Newark, coalition formed to pass a paid sick days law for New Jersey.
Milwaukee raises a proverbial middle finger to Scott Walker with living wage proposal.
Finally: Chicago workers at Snarf’s Sandwiches win big victory against retaliating boss.
The Koch Brothers left an important document at their latest retreat. Mother Jones got ahold of it.
North Carolina’s Senate primary is a microcosm of the struggle inside the GOP.
Three things that weren’t in Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett’s budget proposal.
Leaders acknowledge we need universal pre-K, but where is the money for it?
Key Quote: “One of the most consequential national debates this year will be about early education. The evidence that it builds opportunity is overwhelming.”
A majority of Americans want the government to reduce income inequality.
Characterizations of TPP as corporatist and secretive are beginning to stick.
Addressing the lie that Obamacare will kill jobs, which most media refuses to refute.
JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley will pay $1.86 billion to settle claims of mortgage misconduct.
Related: Tax exemption for mortgage debt forgiveness expired at the end of last year. It’s hitting homeowners now.
Finally: Jay Leno gives a shoutout to his union staff during his final show.