Monday, January 2, 2006

Another Article on the Minimum Wage Battle to Come

Update: Some interesting thoughts by Saul Levmore over at the Univ. of Chicago Faculty Blog.

Consistent with a post I did about a week ago about the labor movement's new offensive on pushing the raising of the minimum wage on the state level is a piece out today from the New York Times.  As explained previously, the hope of the Democrats and the labor movement is that raising the minimum wage on the state level can be the same type of popular wedge issue that anti-gay marriage amendments were for Republicans and social conservatives in 2004.

Some excerpts from States Take Lead In Push To Raise Minimum Wage:

Thwarted by Congress, labor unions and community groups have increasingly focused their efforts at raising the minimum wage on the states, where the issue has received more attention than in Republican-dominated Washington, said Bill Samuel, the legislative director of the national A.F.L.-C.I.O.

Opinion polls show wide public support for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which falls far short of the income needed to place a family at the federal poverty level. Even the chairman of Wal-Mart has endorsed an increase, saying that a worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford to shop at his stores.

"The public is way ahead of Washington," Mr. Samuel said. "They see this as a matter of basic fairness, the underpinning of basic labor law in this country, a floor under wages so we're not competing with Bangladesh."

All this should make more for interesting political battles on the labor front during the upcoming 2006 elections. Look for minimum wage to play a prominent role for the first time in a long time.


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