Working Californians Welcome Minimum Wage Increase, Recognize Need for Indexed Wage
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
“On January 1st, California’s lowest-wage workers will get a pay raise as the state increases the minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $8.00 per hour. Nearly 1.5 million Californians will benefit from this wage increase, thanks to a bill sponsored by the California Labor Federation in 2006.
“Minimum wage workers perform some of the most important jobs in our society as homecare workers, janitors, nursing home attendants, security guards, childcare workers, salespersons, farm workers, and restaurant workers, among others. These hard-working Californians have struggled for years to support their families while earning near-poverty wages. The minimum wage increase is essential in helping these workers begin the long climb out of poverty.
“While this wage increase is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t address the bigger problem: a rate of inflation that is outpacing the minimum wage. According to the California Budget Project, a single adult working full-time would need to earn more than $13.00 an hour just to cover basic expenses such as housing, food, transportation and health care. These figures show that the working poor are unable to make ends meet under the current minimum wage standards. We must link the minimum wage to actual costs of living for greater economic stability.
“The California Labor Federation will continue to advocate for an indexed wage and other wage standards for all workers in 2008, and we will vigorously support the efforts of minimum wage workers to provide better lives for their families in the new year.”