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Sen. Murray: “It’s the right thing to do” for working parents, women, and local economies
 
VIDEO of Sen. Murray’s remarks here

 

 

Washington, DC – Addressing hundreds of low-wage workers outside the U.S. Capitol, Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

 

“I’m so proud of the strong steps taken in our state to make sure that full-time work doesn’t leave people in our communities living in poverty,” Senator Murray said. “I believe we need a $15 federal minimum wage to bring that progress to communities nationwide. It’s the right thing to do for working parents, for the nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers who are women, and as I’ve heard from business owners in our state, it’s the right thing to do for our local economies.”

“It is a national disgrace that millions of full-time workers are living in poverty and millions more are forced to work two or three jobs just to pay their bills,” Senator Sanders said. “In the year 2017, a job must lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it.  The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised to a living wage.”

Eighteen Senate Democrats have signed onto the bill, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 and would be indexed to the median wage growth thereafter. This raise would increase the minimum wage higher than its 1968 peak. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009. 

While labor productivity has more than doubled since the late 1960s, pay for workers generally, and for low-wage workers in particular, has either stagnated or fallen since the 1970s. At the same time, income for those at the top has skyrocketed. The richest one percent have seen their income grow by 15 percent since 2009 and by more than 130 percent since the late 1960s.

Sanders and Murray’s legislation would give more than 41 million low-wage workers a raise, increasing the wages of almost 30 percent of the U.S. workforce. A $15 minimum wage by 2024 would generate $144 billion in higher wages for workers, benefiting their local economies.

The bill will also gradually eliminate the loophole that allows tipped workers and workers with disabilities to be paid substantially less than the federal minimum wage, bringing it to parity with the regular minimum wage. Moreover, it would also phase out the youth minimum wage, that allows employers to pay workers under 20 years old a lower wage for the first 90 calendar days of work.

The current list of cosponsors includes: Sens. Schumer, Durbin, Blumenthal, Booker, Brown, Cantwell, Gillibrand, Feinstein, Franken, Harris, Hirono, Kaine, Leahy, Markey, Merkley, Reed, Schatz, Van Hollen, Warren, Whitehouse and Wyden.

The bill will be introduced in the Senate soon.

Read a summary of the bill here.

Read a copy of the bill here.