minimum wage increase

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Protesters in Albany have joined a national push today called “Fight for 15,” as workers and activists demand higher pay at low-wage jobs. The workers and labor unions want a federal minimum wage of $15.

Albany workers are part of a worldwide mobilization for a wage that meets basic needs.

Nationwide protests kicked-off just after 6 a.m. in New York City outside the Flatbush Avenue McDonald's in Brooklyn - and an hour later at the Holland Avenue McDonald's in Albany.  

Anti-poverty activists in western Massachusetts today are launching a living wage campaign in Springfield.  A public event to explain the effort begins at 4 pm at the Springfield Central Library.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Kitty Callaghan, a founding member of  Living Wage Western Massachusetts.

Small Business Majority

A new survey of small business owners finds the majority favor an increase of the federal minimum wage.

It has been widely reported that Republicans contend President Obama's proposed hike to the federal minimum wage would be a job-killer. But that's not how Republican small business owners feel, if a new poll released by the Small Business Majority is any indication. 

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

On the same day he delivered his State of The Union address this week, President Barack Obama announced that he was increasing the minimum wage for federal contractor workers to $10.10 per hour. There’s mixed reaction to the idea...

The federal minimum wages stands at $7.25 an hour. Many agree that raising the minimum wage re-adjusts it to 1960s levels; for example, the $1.60 minimum wage of 1968 was worth more than $10.50 in 2013 dollars. 

Mark Dunlea

Protesters greeted Governor Andrew Cuomo when he appeared at New York City's Harvard Club for a re-election campaign "conversation" Thursday.

About 100 demonstrators carried signs and recited chants, urging Cuomo to move to raise the state minimum wage and ban hydrofracking. Community activist Jo Ann Lum: "So we're out here to say, like, Cuomo, you messed up with the minimum wage bill that you passed. You gotta take steps immediately to make sure this is straightened out."

The minimum wage in Massachusetts is currently $8 per hour, the rate was set in 2008 and does not adjust for inflation.

The federal rate is currently $7.75, but President Obama has requested that Congress raise the rate to $9 per hour and index the rate to inflation.

The bill, filed by Democratic State Senator Marc Pacheco of Taunton, would seek to raise the Bay State’s minimum wage to $11 dollars over three years. Pacheco said that although the $3 increase may seem dramatic, the amount more accurately reflects the value of the minimum wage in 1968 adjusted for inflation.

Bart Everson/Flickr

ALBANY – Area state lawmakers are divided on increasing the minimum wage, a provision approved Thursday night in the 2013-14 budget.

Assemblyman James Skoufis (D, Town of Woodbury) supports the wage hike.

“Over three years we phase it in to $9 an hour, which is something I pushed strongly for and the Assembly pushes strongly for since I took office in January,” Skoufis said.

But, another freshman lawmaker from the Hudson Valley, Kieran Michael Lalor (R, Fishkill), has a different take on the issue.