NAACP Applauds President Obama’s Announcement at The State of The Union Address

NAACP Applauds President Obama’s Announcement at The State of The Union Address to Raise The Minimum Wage for All Federally-Contracted Employees

CONGRESS MUST NOW FINISH THE JOB BY RAISING THE FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE FOR ALL AMERICAN WORKERS TO $10.10 PER HOUR AND ATTACHING FUTURE INCREASES TO THE RATE OF INFLATION

In conjunction with ever-growing public support for an increase in the minimum wage, and the fact that Congress has to date not acted on legislation to bring the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, President Obama today used his executive power to mandate an increase in the minimum wage for all employee who work under federal contract.  This means that everyone who works for the federal government, or whose business receives federal monies, is guaranteed to make at least $10.10 an hour.  This includes military base workers who wash dishes, prepare meals, or do laundry, as well as the people who serve food and protect our Nation’s national parks and museums, including the Smithsonian museums.  The NAACP called on the President to issue just such an executive order increasing the minimum wage among federally-contracted employees through letters, press statements, personal conversation, and an action item passed by the National Board of Directors at its October meeting in 2013.  The NAACCP has supported an increase in the Federal minimum wage in resolutions in 1976, 1977, 1979, 1987, 1996, and 2006.

The NAACP is now re-energized and as committed as ever to securing the enactment of legislation, S. 460 / HR 1010, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 which would raise the federal minimum wage for all workers in three stages to $10.10 an hour, and index it to inflation thereafter, thus freeing it from Congressional inaction.  The legislation would also raise the federal minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in more than 20 years.  In addition to testifying before the Senate in support of the legislation and passing resolutions calling for the enactment of S. 460 / HR 1010, the NAACP has written several letters to lawmakers and made numerous personal appeals.

Raising the minimum wage will ensure that no family of four which includes a full time worker must raise their children below the poverty line.  Raising the minimum wage directly helps families:  around 60% of workers benefitting from a higher minimum wage would be women.  Also, those workers who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage brought home 46% of their household’s total wage and salary in 2011.  Over the last 40 years, the federal minimum wage has lost more than 30% of its value and would be more than $10.55 per hour today if it had kept pace with the cost of living; the current wage of $7.25 was implemented in July 2009, the final of three increases resulting from 2007 legislation signed by President George W. Bush. Furthermore, when American workers have a higher income, and more income security, they are likely to spend more, thus creating more jobs.  In fact, it is estimated that the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would generate more than $32 billion in new economic activity, translating to 140,000 new full-time jobs as higher sales lead businesses to hire more employees.  There are currently 3.6 million Americans working for pay at or below the federal minimum wage.

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