Mid-Term Senate Races Matter: Heller’s High Water

U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) released the below statement after a right-leaning federal judge in Texas nullified the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor overtime rule.

“The former Obama Administration’s expansion of the federal overtime rule would have devastated Nevada’s business owners and job creators. Since the rule was issued last year, I have been strongly concerned about its impact because it would fundamentally change how employers compensate their workers, reducing Nevadans’ work hours and benefits. I’m pleased to see that a federal judge acknowledged the regulation’s harmful consequences and ruled it invalid today,” Heller said. “Today’s news is a relief for countless Nevada businesses and employers, and I commend Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt for his leadership in this fight.”

Heller has worked tirelessly at undermining the Obama-era overtime rule aimed at leveling the playing field for workers. Instead, he’s worked to bolster the bottom line of his corporate benefactors. Don’t believe me?  As evidence —

  • In February 2016 he wrote to Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez about this rule and what he claimed would be its negative impacts on corporations in the state of Nevada.
  • In March 2016, he followed up with yet another letter highlighting his concerns over the new policy change.
  • In the Senate, Heller expressed concerns with his Senate colleagues by writing to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related Agencies Chairman Roy Blunt and Ranking Member Patty Murray.

Heller also cosponsored S. 2707, the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act, in the 114th Congress, legislation that would have cancelled the proposed DOL regulation to increase the salary threshold for workers eligible to receive overtime pay and require impact studies for future proposals of related rules.

Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act

S.2707 declared that the proposed or the final rule of the Department of Labor entitled “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees” shall cease to have any force or effect. The rule revises the “white collar” exemption of executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees from minimum wage and maximum hour, or overtime, requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA).

If the proposed rule is a final rule on the date of enactment of S.2707:

  • the Dept of Labor would have been prohibited from enforcing it based on conduct occurring before that enactment date,
  • an employee would not have any right of action against an employer for the employer’s failure to comply with the final rule at any time before that enactment date,
  • any regulations that were amended by the final rule would have been restored and revived as if the final rule had never taken effect, and
  • nothing in S.2707 would have been construed to create a right of action for an employer against an employee for the recoupment of any payments made to the employee before the enactment of this bill that were in compliance with that final rule.

It also specified that the Dept of Labor could promulgate any substantially similar rule only if it had completed certain required actions; but any new rule could not contain any automatic updates to the salary threshold for purposes of exemptions to minimum wage and maximum hour requirements under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act).

The requirement that definitions applicable for such exemptions be defined and delimited from time to time by Labor regulations would have been construed to:

  • require Labor to issue a new rule through notice and comment rule-making for each change in any salary threshold it has proposed (creating more expensive and elongated rule-making processes); and
  • exclude any rule that would result in changes to any salary threshold for multiple time periods, including through any automatic updating procedure.

The Dept of Labor was also prohibited from promulgating any final rule that included any revision to duties tests for exemption from minimum wage and maximum hours requirements unless specific regulatory text for the provision was proposed in the proposed rule.

For clarity, here is the background on that “Final Rule” and what it did for WORKERS:

In 2014, President Obama directed the Department of Labor to update and modernize the regulations governing the exemption of executive, administrative, and professional (“EAP”) employees from the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or “Act”). The Department published a notice of proposed rulemaking on July 6, 2015, and received more than 270,000 comments. On May 18, 2016, the Department announced that it will publish a Final Rule to update the regulations. The full text of the Final Rule will be available at the Federal Register Site.

Although the FLSA ensures minimum wage and overtime pay protections for most employees covered by the Act, some workers, including bona fide EAP employees, are exempt from those protections. Since 1940, the Department’s regulations have generally required each of three tests to be met for the FLSA’s EAP exemption to apply:

  1. the employee must be paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed (“salary basis test”);
  2. the amount of salary paid must meet a minimum specified amount (“salary level test”); and
  3. the employee’s job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties as defined by the regulations (“duties test”).

The Department last updated these regulations in 2004, when it set the weekly salary level at $455 ($23,660 annually) and made other changes to the regulations, including collapsing the short and long duties tests into a single standard duties test and introducing a new exemption for highly compensated employees.

This Final Rule updates the salary level required for exemption to ensure that the FLSA’s intended overtime protections are fully implemented, and to simplify the identification of overtime-protected employees, thus making the EAP exemption easier for employers and workers to understand and apply. Without intervening action by their employers, it extends the right to overtime pay to an estimated 4.2 million workers who are currently exempt. It also strengthens existing overtime protections for 5.7 million additional white collar salaried workers and 3.2 million salaried blue collar workers whose entitlement to overtime pay will no longer rely on the application of the duties test.

* Key Provisions of the Final Rule *
The Final Rule focused primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for EAP workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:

  1. Set the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South, which is $913 per week or $47,476 annually for a full-year worker;
  2. Set the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally, which is $134,004; and
  3. Established a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.

Additionally, the Final Rule amended the salary basis test to allow employers to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level. The Final Rule made no changes to the duties tests.

Effective Date
The effective date of the Final Rule is December 1, 2016. The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Senator Heller espouse and promote a nationwide move such as that just made by the Missouri GOP-led legislature which lowered the minimum wage from $10/hr to $7.70/hr (or, from $20, 800/yr to $16,016/yr for Missouri citizens.

Afterall, Senator Heller has made it exceedingly clear that he represents only his corporate benefactors and is a firm believer and double-downer in a failed trickle-down philosophy.

“Congress is ready to address tax reform, and that’s why I’m encouraged by the President’s comments today about bringing tax relief to all Americans. Nevada’s hardworking families and small business owners have been waiting for a simpler, fairer tax code for years now, and Congress and the White House are poised to make that happen,” Heller said. “I was honored to host Secretary Mnuchin earlier this week in Las Vegas for a meeting with Nevada employers and the message we received from these business leaders was clear – lowering rates will help boost the economy, create jobs and increase wages. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I’m looking forward to working with the Administration on this issue and having a seat at the table to make sure that the final product is what’s best for Nevada.”

Mid-term elections matter and we cannot let Dean Heller get re-elected to the Senate, nor can we let AG Laxalt get elected to the Governorship of Nevada.

Related Posts:

Gutting Protections for Working People?

Concerns are rising that Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are preparing to revoke a suite of Obama-era executive orders that have provided basic protections for U.S. workers.

These executive orders raise wages, improve worker safety, and help ensure that taxpayer dollars do not support companies that break the law. Specifically, the orders under threat:

  • Provide paid sick leave for federal contractors
  • Limit gender and race wage discrimination by increasing pay transparency
  • Boost wage growth by requiring a minimum wage of $10.20 for federal contractors—lower than what is needed but higher than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25
  • Safeguard federal contract workers from being forced into unfair internal arbitration systems that make it harder to fight back against discrimination, wage theft, and other violations of worker rights
  • Require transparency from contractors about violations of labor laws and ensure that federal dollars don’t reward unscrupulous employers

Approximately 25 percent of the U.S. workforce is employed by companies that do business with the federal government, representing $500 billion of business each year on contracts for goods and services. The federal government has the responsibility to ensure that these taxpayer dollars are used to do business with honest employers who comply with workplace protections.

If President Trump were serious about enacting a real agenda that supports working people, he would not gut rules that support good jobs and workers’ rights. He would not eliminate paid sick leave for over one million federal contract workers. And he would not nominate a labor secretary whose fast-food chain has a long history of wage theft and who himself has a long record of anti-worker and anti-government rhetoric.

The Obama-era executive orders hardly constitute a radical agenda. Instead, it is the anticipated actions by President Trump and the GOP controlled Congress that signal something radical—a radical assault on the workers candidate Trump claimed to support.

If President Trump were serious about protecting working people, he would advance an agenda designed to promote a fair economy, not implement executive orders that hurt millions of people.

Become a Co-Sponsor of the Real Agenda for Working People

President-elect #donaldtrump and conservatives on Capitol Hill are preparing to unleash a series of economic policies in an attempt to undermine years of progress.

Tax cuts for the rich and corporations, deregulation of finance and worker protections, and assaults on unions would all undercut U.S. workers’ economic clout, not increase it.

The blame for workers’ plight should be placed squarely where it is due: on the corporate owners, top managers and Wall Street financiers, and the policymakers in their sway.

We must stand united to protect U.S. workers and families from the conservative tried-and-failed trickle-down policies of the past.

Stand together and become a co-sponsor of the five-point Real Agenda for Working People to create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. This agenda is a yardstick for measuring the Trump Administration’s policies.


A Real Agenda for Working People:

Restore full employment
Create an economy where employers have to compete for workers by raising wages

  • Launch a 10-year, $1.2 trillion public investment program in infrastructure, clean energy, scientific and medical research, early child care, education, and health care delivery.
  • Create public employment programs for areas with high unemployment rates and with large concentrations of low-wage workers.
  • Nominate and retain Federal Reserve Board governors who will pursue full employment and wage growth.

Strengthen—not gut—rules that support good jobs
Preserve and expand rules that support good jobs and create economically secure families and a fairer economy

  • Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 and index it to wage growth.
  • Build a universal, nationwide child care system.
  • Enact paid family and sick leave and promote sensible work scheduling.
  • Strengthen the Department of Labor to enforce labor standards including employee misclassification, wage theft, and prevailing wage violations.
  • Use all the tools at our disposal to eliminate discrimination in hiring, promotion, and pay of women and workers of color.
  • Reform immigration laws to provide legalization and a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.
  • Reform—rather than expand—guestworker programs so that temporary migrant workers are not underpaid and have access to labor standards and workplace protections.
  • End forced arbitration in employment contracts and consumer financial services agreements.

Protect the basic human right of worker organization
The freedom to bargain collectively

  • Strengthen protections for working people who organize and promote change through collective action.

Level the playing field that trade agreements slanted against workers
Globalization depresses wages—and our trade policy makes it worse

  • Fight exchange rate misalignments that hamper U.S. exporters and lead to trade deficits.
  • Enforce trade laws that help U.S. workers.
  • Reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade agreements that protect U.S. and multinational corporations but not workers.

Raise top tax rates to invest in America and restore power to the bottom 90 percent
The top 1 percent do not need tax cuts that increase their incentive to further rig the economy’s rules

  • Eliminate tax preferences for executive pay, or make deductions for executive pay contingent on granting rank-and-file wage increases equal to productivity growth.
  • Implement a financial transactions tax (FTT).
  • Raise top marginal income tax rates.

For more details on the Real Agenda for Working People visit www.epi.org/workers-agenda.

Twelve by 2020

Apr 30, 2015 | by CAP Action War Room

RaiseTheWage-3Sen. Murray and Rep. Scott Introduce The Raise The Wage Act To Raise The Minimum Wage To $12

Today, Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Bobby Scott released the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, get rid of the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, and tie future increases to the median wage. This legislation would not only be a huge step forward for low-wage workers, but also for the recognition that growing our economy requires investing the workers that make it run, from the middle out, not the top down.

For decades, the value of the federal minimum wage has continued to fall, forcing low-wage workers to fall further and further behind. Raising the minimum wage is a key step in building an economy that works for everyone and investing in the everyday working Americans who strengthen our economy. Here are just a few of the many necessary things the Raise the Wage Act does:

  • Give 38 million workers a raise. Raising the minimum wage to $12 will help nearly 38 million workers, 90 percent of whom are adults, and more than 25 percent of whom are parents.
  • Help working women get ahead. More than half of all workers who would earn a raise from the Raise the Wage Act are women. The vast majority of women who would receive a raise are over the age of 25 and one-third of the women who would be affected are mothers.
  • Give workers $100 billion in increased earnings. According to the Economic Policy Institute, workers would see earnings increase by more than $100 billion over the next five years, money they would likely spend in their communities, helping to boost local economies.
  • Help families make ends meet. According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, increasing the minimum wage to $12 an hour would reduce taxpayer spending on food stamps by $5.3 billion annually, by helping to lift families out of poverty, allowing many who currently turn to nutrition assistance to make ends meet.

America’s current minimum wage is a poverty wage: Many full-time workers who receive minimum-wage salaries live at or near the federal poverty level. This means that many must turn to public assistance such as food assistance and Medicaid in order to make ends meet. In a recent study, the Center for American Progress analyzed the impact of past minimum-wage changes on spending in one particular program—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. The study found that minimum-wage increases lead to statistically significant reductions in SNAP enrollment and spending. When workers’ incomes are increased, some end up relying less on SNAP benefits while others see their earnings boosted above the threshold for SNAP eligibility. The result is a win-win situation for both low-wage workers and taxpayers.

RaiseTheWage

BOTTOM LINE: Americans who work hard and play by the rules should never have to live in poverty. Investing in workers honors the hard work of millions of Americans and puts money back in the pocket of families. What’s good for workers and families is good for the economy.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Your Server Isn’t on the Menu

For women who make their living off tips, sexual harassment is a constant workplace peril.

By Marjorie E. Wood

Marjorie_Elizabeth_Wood

At a popular sit-down restaurant in Independence, Missouri, Allison waits tables for $3.60 an hour — the going rate for servers at her restaurant.

Advocates of raising the federal hourly tipped minimum wage of $2.13 up to the standard minimum wage — currently pegged at $7.25 — understand that living on tips is difficult. As Allison put it, “There are times when guests have left me one dollar or 50 cents just because they got angry at something.”

Sexual Harrassment and Tipped Workers
No Crop Photo/Flickr

In other words, tipped workers are financially insecure. According to the Economic Policy Institute, tipped workers are more than twice as likely to fall into poverty and nearly twice as likely to be on food stamps as the general population.

But there is another, less obvious, reason to abolish this sub-minimum wage, according to a new report from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC).

Not only are servers like Allison more likely to be poor — they are also highly likely to experience sexual harassment on the job. The new report found that a staggering 90 percent of tipped workers in the restaurant industry are sexually harassed.

Surveying nearly 700 current and former restaurant workers, ROC — in partnership with Forward Together — found that customers, co-workers, and management regularly impose “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” on industry employees.

Women reported experiencing sexual harassment more often than men, with a majority of respondents encountering it on at least a weekly basis. Women were also more likely to say that sexual harassment was “an uncomfortable aspect of the work environment.”

Living on tips means that women — who make up two-thirds of all tipped restaurant servers — are forced to rely on customers for their income rather than on their employer.

This creates an environment, the report says, in which women must “please and curry favor with customers” for their livelihood. Often, that means tolerating unwanted sexual advances. So it’s no surprise that while the restaurant industry employs only 7 percent of American women, it generates more than a third of all federal sexual harassment claims.

Yet the phenomenon varies widely from state to state. Interestingly, the report found that in states that pay the same minimum wage to all workers — tipped and non-tipped alike — women were less likely to experience sexual harassment.

In so-called “$2.13 states,” however, tipped women workers were three times more likely to be told by management to “alter their appearance and to wear ‘sexier,’ more revealing clothing” than they were in states that had eliminated the tipped wage. And they were twice as likely to experience sexual harassment as women in states that have one minimum wage for all workers.

Men and non-tipped workers were also more likely to report being sexually harassed in $2.13 states.

What does all this add up to?

Eliminating the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers would do more than just improve women’s financial security. It would also create a safer, more equitable workplace where servers like Allison won’t have to tolerate inappropriate advances to make a living.

ROC is continuing to collect stories from tipped restaurant workers on its website at rocunited.org. If you’ve ever experienced sexual harassment in the restaurant industry, share your story with ROC.

It’s time to send a message to the industry and to policymakers that servers aren’t on the menu.

OtherWords columnist Marjorie E. Wood is a senior economic policy associate at the Institute for Policy Studies and the managing editor of Inequality.org. IPS-dc.org
Distributed via OtherWords.org

With $10.10

On 10/10, 10 Facts About A $10.10 Minimum Wage

—by CAP Action War Room

RaiseTheMinimumWageAFriday, October 10th, was National Minimum Wage Day in honor of the efforts by progressives to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. At $7.25 an hour, today’s minimum wage is worth 30 percent less than the $1.60 minimum wage of 1968. It has been five years since the last increase in the federal minimum wage and nearly three-quarters of Americans support an increase, yet we have seen no progress. Just this morning four former Republican US Representatives announced their support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The article begins, “When the cost of living goes up, so should wages. It’s common sense.”

Despite the fact that 22 previous increases in the minimum wage have passed through Congress with bipartisan support, Republicans in Congress have tied the issue up in partisan politics, ignoring the needs of their hard working constituents.

To continue with the theme, we’ve put together 10 key facts you should know about raising the minimum wage.

  1. Raising the minimum wage would allow 28 million American workers to see their wages increase by a total of $35 billion.
  2.  A $10.10 minimum wage would lift approximately 4.6 million workers out of poverty.
  3. The country’s GDP would increase by $22 billion over the phase-in period of the increased wage.
  4. Over that same period approximately 85,000 jobs would be created.
  5. Six million working mothers would see their wages increase and 14 million American children would see an increase in their family’s income.
  6. Since the last increase in the minimum wage, prices have skyrocketed: groceries are 20 percent more expensive, a gallon of gas is 25 percent more expensive and tuition at a community college is 44 percent more expensive than it was in 2009 at the time of the last increase.
  7. Federal spending on poverty programs, specifically spending on SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) would decrease by $4.6 billion a year.
  8. Sixty percent of business owners agree that the federal minimum wage should be increased, and 82 percent of business owners already pay their workers above the minimum wage.
  9. More than 600 economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners support raising the minimum wage and argue that it has little to no effect on business.
  10. Seventy three percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $10.10.

BOTTOM LINE: Raising the minimum wage isn’t just good for workers who earn the minimum wage, it’s good for the American economy. What minimum wage workers need—what the American economy needs—is for lawmakers to put aside partisan politics and get behind creating an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. The answer is simple: give hard working Americans a wage they can live on. Raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

More Than 20 Actions—and Counting

— by Dan Pfeiffer, Senior Advisor, The White House, @Pfeiffer44

WhiteHouseThe President made something very clear in his State of the Union address this past January:

Wherever and whenever he can take action to expand opportunity for more American families, he’s going to do it, with Congress or without.

Republicans in Congress have actually set records in obstruction and inaction, blocking simple yes-or-no votes on proposals that would create jobs and expand opportunity for more Americans. On the other hand, the President has steadily acted on his own to help build real, lasting economic security for the middle class.

We’re talking about actions that are:

  • Creating new manufacturing hubs to spur new research and private-sector activity in communities across the country
  • Expanding apprenticeships and job training programs that we know prepare workers for jobs of the future
  • Getting the long-term unemployed back to work
  • Addressing the gender pay gap
  • Making college a reality for more young Americans
  • Raising the minimum wage for employees on new federal contracts

And that’s just to name a few.

But don’t take my word for it — watch President Obama describe in his own words just a few of the more than 20 actions the Administration has taken so far this year. Take a look, and then share this with someone who needs to see it.

Of course, Congress has the ability to expand opportunity for more Americans even further.

And the President is just as eager now as he was four months ago to work with lawmakers when they are willing to act on behalf of working Americans.

But in the meantime, he’s not standing still — and that means working with the private sector, state and local officials, and anyone else who’s interested in building an economy where more hardworking people can get ahead. That’s what’s happening right now, and it’s what’s going to continue happening over the course of this year.

Take a look at what we’ve done so far this year — and if you learn something new, make sure you pass it on.

Party Of The 1% Filibustered Debate on Minimum Wage Increase

—by CAP Action War Room

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GOP Senators Vote Against Working Americans And Block Minimum Wage Increase

A minority of 41 Senators, all Republicans (and YES, that includes Sen. Dean Heller), voted today to block debate and a vote on a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10. Once again, the GOP followed the orders of the Koch brothers to keep our economy working for only the wealthiest.

Earnings for the top 1 percent have gone up 177% (PDF) since 1980. Meanwhile, minimum wage workers are actually making 16% less. But Republican Senators are still refusing to give them a raise:

GOP-MinWage

What’s more, instead of voting to give 28 million people as much as a $4,000 raise each, these GOP Senators instead took checks from leading lobbyists from big corporations opposed to raising it. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for instance, has taken $118,000 since 2008:

MinWage02

Let’s go over just a few of the groups that these 41 Senate Republicans — whose average net worth is $6.26 million — were voting against in deciding to not even allow debate on the minimum wage bill:

Whether or not this issue personally affects you, chances are you know someone for whom this would make a difference.  The average worker who would benefit is 35 years old, and more than half are women.  It’s a single mother trying to make sure her kids have enough to eat. It’s a college student working to pay her way through school. And they deserve a raise.

Despite today’s vote, this issue will not go away, no matter how hard Republicans wish it would. The 42nd ‘no’ vote came from Majority Leader Harry Reid, a procedural move in order to preserve the option of bringing the bill up again. And just before the vote took place, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) issued a clear indication on the Senate floor that this fight is long from over: “If we don’t succeed this time … we will bring this bill to the floor again and again and again. Sooner or later we will get it done.”  (Editor’s remark:  Frankly … if the House can vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act 53 time, it’s perfectly acceptable with me for the Senate to have to vote, and re-vote on this at least once a week until they incur some serious wrath from the constituents and finally cast a YES vote.)

BOTTOM LINE: Instead of raising the minimum wage and giving Americans who work hard a better opportunity to get ahead, Senate Republicans have shown once again that they’re against the 99%. But this fight is far from over. Those who vote against everyday Americans — many of whom have voted for similar minimum wage increases in the past — are on the wrong side of history.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

11 Things The Senate Should Remember While Voting On The Minimum Wage

— by CAP Action War Room

After returning from a two-week recess, the Senate is planning to vote on raising the minimum wage to $10.10 this Wednesday. The bill, called the “Minimum Wage Fairness Act,” needs 60 votes to advance thanks to the de facto GOP filibuster threat. And while in the past we have used this space to outline many of the different benefits of raising the minimum wage to $10.10, in anticipation of this important vote we wanted to go over some of the most important reasons one more time. Here they are:

  1. Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 and indexing it to inflation would raise the wages of 28 million workers by $35 billion. Raising the minimum wage would provide Americans who work hard a better opportunity to get ahead while giving the economy a needed shot in the arm.
  2. In 2013, CEOs made 774 times the pay of minimum wage workers.While the top CEOs made an average of $11.7 million in 2013, full-time workers making the minimum wage took home only $15,080 a year.
  3. Nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers are women. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would benefit 15 million women.
  4. One million veterans would benefit from a minimum wage increase.After risking their lives to protect our country, 1 in 10 veterans working in America today are paid wages low enough that they would receive a raise if the minimum wage is raised to $10.10.
  5. Raising the minimum wage will cut government spending on food stamps. Millions of workers earning the minimum wage make so little that they qualify for food stamps (SNAP benefits). This, in effect, amounts to taxpayers subsidizing corporations paying low-wages. Raising wages for low-income workers would actually cut government spending on SNAP by $4.6 billion a year, or $46 billion over the next 10 years, as workers earn enough on their own to no longer rely on the program.
  6. Minimum wage workers are older than you think. Nearly 90 percent of minimum wage workers are 20 years or older. The average minimum wage worker is 35 years old. A higher minimum wage doesn’t just mean more spending money for a teenager, it means greater economic security for the millions of Americans who rely on it as their primary income.
  7. Businesses see the value in increasing the minimum wage. Nearly 60 percent of small business owners recognize that raising the minimum wage would benefit businesses and support raising it. In fact, 82 percent of those surveyed don’t pay any of their workers the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
  8. It won’t hurt job creation. States have raised the minimum wage 91 times since 1987 during periods of high unemployment, and in more than half of those instances the unemployment rate actually fell. Over 600 economists signed a letter agreeing that a minimum wage increase doesn’t hurt job creation.
  9. In polls, nearly three-quarters of Americans support a minimum wage increase to $10.10. Pew Research found that 73 percent of Americans back a minimum wage increase.
  10. Millions of children will be more secure. If we raise the minimum wage to $10.10, 21 million children will have at least one parent whose pay will go up.
  11. A $10.10 minimum wage means a $16.1 billion boost for people of colorRaising the minimum wage is a matter of racial justice: people of color are far more likely to work minimum wage jobs and those who do are far more likely to be in poverty. A $10.10 minimum wage would lift three and a half million people of color out of poverty and add $16.1 billion to their incomes.

BOTTOM LINE: Over the next few days, as Senators take to the chamber floor to debate and then vote on this legislation that would help the economy and millions of American workers, they should make sure they keep in mind these vital facts on why the minimum wage should be raised to $10.10. A vote against increasing the minimum wage is quite simply a vote against working Americans.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

What I signed today

Earlier today, I signed an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.

It’s the right thing to do. But what’s more, companies have found that when their employees earn more, they’re more motivated, they work harder, and they stick around longer. You should expect the same of your federal government.

The bottom line is this: We are a nation that believes in rewarding honest work with honest wages. And America deserves a raise.

If you agree, let me know you’re standing with me — and take a look at what else we’re going to do in 2014.

The order I signed today will help folks across the country. But it’s not enough.

Right now, there’s a bill in Congress that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for all Americans. It would lift wages for more than 28 million current workers, and would move millions of Americans out of poverty. That means businesses would have customers with more money to spend.

Raising the minimum wage would grow the economy for everyone.

You don’t need to believe me: Believe the 600 economists — including seven Nobel Prize winners — who wrote both houses of Congress last month to remind them that the bill before them will have little or no negative effect on jobs.

When I stood before both chambers of Congress and said that I intended for 2014 to be a year of action, that wasn’t just a nice line in a speech. It was an acknowledgment that we’ve got to restore opportunity for everyone in America — the idea that no matter who you are, or how you started out, you can get ahead here if you’re responsible and willing to work for it. That’s what this “year of action” is all about.

And since that speech, I have taken actions on my own to make it easier for folks to save for retirement, help working Americans get the skills that good jobs demand, and assist millions of Americans who have been looking for work for several months. I’ve announced a major new commitment toward connecting our schools to 21st-century technology.

That action continues today, and in the months to come.

Take a look at what we’ve done already and what’s to come.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama