Wed. 7/17: Stop socialism for the rich! H.R. 582 – “Raise the Wage Act” is up for a vote tomorrow!

Action #1 – Call and thank your member if they’re one of the 205 current cosponsors of this bill HR. 582/S.150 “Raise the Wage Act”.

There is no excuse for any company in America to pay their workers so little that they need food stamps, and Medicaid and rent assistance. This is bulls***.” “That’s not capitalism. That’s socialism for the rich.” – Nick Hanauer

After nearly 10 years with no increase in the federal minimum wage, minimum-wage workers have suffered a 17 percent pay cut due to inflation,” said House Labor Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va., who had introduced the Raise the Wage Act. “The result is that there is no place in America where a full-time worker who is paid the current federal minimum wage can afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

Minimum script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank Rep./Sen. [____] for their support of {Rep. – H.R.582/Sen. – S.150} – Raise the Wage Act.

  • H.R. 582 – Brownley and Carbajal are already cosponsors.
  • S.150 –  Feinstein and Harris are already cosponsors
  • Question: Why should I call my legislators when they are already going to vote the right way?
  • Answer: Everyone likes to be thanked, even legislators. Also, it reminds them that you’re watching everything they do and that we are no longer a “business-as-usual” America.

Contacts 
Rep. Julia Brownley: email, (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal:
 email. (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com 

Background

When unemployment goes down, wages are supposed to go up. That’s just supply and demand. Quite puzzlingly, though, this mechanism seems not to be working today. Unemployment stands at a modest 4%, but paychecks aren’t growing. Although today’s is the best-educated workforce in history, employers just insist that workers need more training. In other words, they’re gaslighting us. Meanwhile, over decades, employers have built and maintained a massive collective political apparatus to hold down wages. To call it a conspiracy would be only slight embellishment.“(guardian)

The federal minimum wage has been $7.25/hr. since 2009. Corporation have been saying “Move along, nothing to see here” as they’ve taken a record and unfair share of America’s economic pie. They’ve suppressed unions, demanded “noncompetes”, manipulated shifts to avoid paying benefits, threatened to move jobs or bring in automation. They also are operating in local economies that have been reduced to the equivalent of mining towns. – one big employer and no functional union to counterbalance them. These “monopsonies”  – corporations with unnaturally concentrated local power, can hold wages below the “natural” level.

All this has tweeked the tradional economic bromide that wages generally increase with productivity – that workers were paid in line with the value of what they did. This worked from the end of the second world war to the 1970s, when productivity and hourly wages rose almost perfectly in sync. But according to research by the Economic Policy Institute, from the early 1970s to 2016 productivity went up 73.7%, and wages only 12.3%.

Wage growth used to inspire a rise in stock prices. Now, wage growth, and possible lessening of shareholder benefits, sends markets downwards. “In 2018 initial signs of wage growth in February sent the market spiraling over inflation fears – until it became clear that the reported wage gains were all concentrated among top earners. Then everyone calmed down and stopped selling.”

But the story of the corporate abuse of America is blowing up. Abigail Disney, granddaughter of the Roy Disney, has been publicly criticized the Magic Kingdom for a long time, especially since it’s CEO, Bob Iger, got a $65 million pay package, while his employees struggle to meet basic needs.

Big companies, like Amazon, and Target have already started to raise their wages to meet the $15 threshold. Amazon, valued at over $1 trillion and owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world with a net worth of $165 billion, was criticized for paying workers an average salary of $34,123 and a median salary of $28,446. They have committed to giving their employees an hourly pay raise (minimum starting now at $11) in addition to 401(k) matching, healthcare and up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave and career training opportunities to employees working more than 20 hours a week.

Companies that pay more “…puts a little more pressure on its rivals,” Peter Cappelli, an economist at the Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania, tells Moneyish. “You can get a real benefit by paying [employees] a little bit more than others are paying. “One of the big differences now is that a lot of people are trying to live on these jobs as opposed to a generation ago when we thought it was mainly students or part-time people in retail,” notes Cappelli. Increasing the minimum wage at retailers like Amazon and Target could mean a slight price hike on products for customers. “It’s more likely to get passed on on to consumers. Say you’re raising their wages 10%, you might see a 1% increase in the cost of the things you’re buying,” he says. “I think that’s not such a bad thing that we have to pay slightly more for retail products. Higher wages means more consumption, that’s good for the economy,” he adds.

Six other companies that pay above minimum wage for entry-level jobs: 
(Market Watch) 

  • Ben & Jerry’s: $17.26 per hour
  • The Gap: $11.86 per hour
  • The Home Depot: $11.09 per hour
  • Nordstrom: $14.96 per hour
  • Costco Wholesale: $13.14 per hour
  • Lowe’s Home Improvement: $12.95 per hour

Bill Summary

There are no GOP sponsors.

  • This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase the federal minimum wage for regular employees over a 7-year period, for tipped employees, and for newly hired employees who are less than 20 years old.
  • The bill sets forth a schedule of annual increases in the federal minimum wage for individuals with disabilities. The Department of Labor shall no longer issue special certificates for the payment of subminimum wages to such individuals after the final wage increase under this bill for such individuals takes effect.
  • Labor shall provide, upon request, technical assistance and information to employers to: (1) help them transition their practices to comply with wage increases and other requirements under this bill for individuals with disabilities, and (2) ensure continuing employment opportunities for such individuals.
  • The bill eliminates the separate minimum wage requirements for tipped, newly hired, and disabled employees. After a specified period, these employees shall be paid the same minimum wage as regular employees.
  • Labor must publish any increase in the minimum wage in the Federal Register and on its website 60 days before it takes effect.

 

 

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