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What Can We Do To Help 50,000 Granite Staters At Once?

More proof that America is in desperate need of change.  Our wages have been flat for nearly four decades.  This can all change when we start at the bottom.  The minimum wage laws in America are well below where they should be.  And it is time for a change.

In my research I came across information about Senator Harkin from Iowa.  He is the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.  Senator Harkin also submitted his own jobs bill called the ‘Rebuild America Act’.

This plan has so many good points I cannot talk about them all in one post.  However there is one that I think is vitally important to talk about and that is the Minimum Wage Law.  Senator Harkin proposed moving the minimum wage to $9.80 per hour, over the next two years. That is a significant jump in wages for millions of Americans.  The boldest part of this wage change is that ‘tipped’ employees who currently make $2.35 and hour, would gradually increase to 70% of the minimum wage.  That means a tipped employee would make about $6.80 per hour (based on $9.80 minimum wage).  This would be the first time in 20 years that ‘tipped’ employees would see a raise in their base pay.  In a press release Senator Harkin said:

“It is long past time to establish a fair minimum wage in our country.  It is good for families, good for business and good for our economy, and, most importantly, it is the right thing to do,” said Harkin. “People who work hard for a living should not have to live in poverty.  I am proud to introduce this bill today, to raise the minimum wage, and to help tens of millions of workers and their families.”

Why do I think it is important to rase the wages of the ‘tipped’ employees, the answer is simple.  Waiters and Waitresses are the third most common job in the entire United States.

Here in New Hampshire there are 722 different places to eat or drink. There are over 42,000 people who work in these restaurants and bars.  This is the largest section of our employment in New Hampshire.  That is more than 25% more than the next largest category, Profession, Scientific, and Technical Services.  I cannot say that all of them make ‘tipped’ wages but I would guess that most do.

Think about that in two years the number one job market in New Hampshire would pay triple what it pays now.  This would mean more prosperity for the 50,000 workers.  They could possibly then afford to buy a house, buy a new car,  and plan for their future.  This would definitely boost the economy here in New Hampshire.  Would this be the change that would bring the country back from the recession?  Only time will tell.



About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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