Thousands of central Ohio workers would receive a raise under new legislation supported by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Workers and a local business owner joined Brown today in Columbus to call for passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in three steps and provide the first minimum wage increase to tipped employees in more than 20 years.
"Central Ohioans work hard, play by the rules, and should be able to take care of their families. But too many Ohioans are working harder than ever and barely getting by," said Brown. "Working full-time in a minimum wage job in Ohio pays about $16,000 per year-- which isn't much to live on when you're trying to put food on the table, fill your gas tank, send your children to school, and provide a safe place for them to live. Ensuring a fair wage is good for middle class families and good for our economy."
Mark Dempsey, owner of Dempsey's Restaurant, explained how paying his employees a fair wage has been good for business and will call on his competitors to do the same. Heather Ross, a server at the restaurant will outline how raising the federal minimum wage would allow her to take care of her family while stimulating economic growth. Under Brown's bill, tipped employees would get their first minimum wage raise in more than 20 years.
Brown is the cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage. The bill would:
Raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25--in three steps of 95 cents--then provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living;
Gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers--which currently stands at just $2.13 an hour--for the first time in more than 20 years, to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage; and
Give more than 30 million American workers would get a raise under Brown's bill.
Workers who are paid a minimum wage in Ohio earn only $16,000 per year, which is more than $3,000 below the poverty level for a family of three. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would boost the minimum wage to $21,000, lifting families above the poverty line. According to the National Employment Law Project, the minimum wage has lost more than 30 percent over the last forty years. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be worth approximately $10.55 per hour today. Increasing the minimum wage would boost GDP by nearly $33 billion and generate 140,000 new jobs over the course of three years as workers spend their raises in their local businesses and communities.