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Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Today, LDF expressed deep disappointment over the Senate’s failure to vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, S. 460. This legislation would have raised the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 in three increments by 2016, and it would have adjusted the minimum wage to keep pace with the rising cost of living. The Senate failed to secure enough votes necessary to consider the legislation, meaning that it can try again in the near future.
In a letter to the Senate supporting the legislation, LDF called the minimum wage a “vital civil rights issue.” LDF discussed its longstanding work to promote economic justice, particularly in the employment arena. Due to decades of institutionalized job segregation and discrimination, people of color still disproportionately hold minimum wage jobs. Increasing the minimum wage to the amount specified would increase the total combined wages of people of color by $16.1 billion.
LDF also told Congress how an increase of the minimum wage would help alleviate poverty within communities of color. In 2011, more than a third of African-American workers did not earn enough hourly wages to lift a family of four out of poverty. If the minimum wage were raised, six million workers would be lifted out of poverty, and 60 percent of them would be people of color.
“While our nation celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned racial discrimination in employment, the realization of such rights without fully obtaining the resources to actualize them can only be considered a partial victory. In order to wholly achieve these gains, we must continue to support measures that will expand the economic opportunities for people of color.”