Three Years After Last Increase, NCJW Calls on Congress to Raise the Minimum Wage
July 24, 2012, Washington, DC – On the third anniversary of the last minimum wage increase, the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today called on Congress to once again raise wages for hourly workers. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:
“Today marks three years since the minimum wage was last increased. NCJW joins with those who support passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012, a bill to be introduced soon that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.80 per hour in three 85-cent steps over the next three years. The bill would also raise the required cash wage for tipped workers from today’s paltry $2.13 per hour where it has been frozen for 20 years.
“The raise is critically important for the economic security of millions of women and their families who work full-time jobs but still do not earn enough to move above the poverty line. Nearly 2.4 million women were paid minimum wage or less in 2011. They provided care for children and frail elders, cleaned homes and offices, and worked in restaurants and hotels, among other jobs. Those women who work full time, year round at minimum wage will earn just $14,500 annually — more than $3,000 below the poverty line for a mother with two children.
“Finally the bill would index the minimum wage, just as Social Security is indexed, so that it cannot fall behind inflation. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would now be over $10.50 per hour — a fact that goes a long way toward explaining the persistence of poverty among women, who are three of every five minimum wage earners working full-time. An increase in the minimum wage would exert some upward pressure on the wages of those earning just above the minimum as well.
“NCJW, through its grassroots efforts and united with coalition partners, will work hard to ensure that the new Fair Minimum Wage Act passes. We firmly believe that a minimum wage increase — one indexed to the cost of living going forward — is key to women’s economic independence and their ability to provide a decent standard of living for their families.”
The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.
Contact: Brianne Nadeau