• Click the image to find out more information about Jerry Stidman.
  • Advertisement

A Significant Percentage Of NH Jobs Do Not Pay Enough To Meet A “Basic Family Budget” Threshold

New Report Examines Cost of Making Ends Meet in the  Granite State, Finds Many Jobs Lack Pay Sufficient to Achieve Economic Stability

NHFPI logo -Color-with-TagCONCORD, NH – New Hampshire’s official poverty rate of 9.2 percent was the lowest in the nation in 2014, but a new analysis underscores the failure of official poverty measures to present an accurate picture of the numbers of people struggling to make ends meet. The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) today released a new research paper, Taking the Measure of Need in the Granite State, which examines the shortcomings of the traditional poverty measures and offers a more comprehensive method of assessing what it takes to get by in the Granite State.

“The official poverty rate stands at odds with the economic anxiety many Granite State families continue to experience,” said NHFPI Executive Director Jeff McLynch. “Traditional measures fail to account for New Hampshire’s high cost of living, which leaves even greater numbers of working families struggling to pay for necessities and puts financial stability far out of reach.” 

In Taking the Measure of Need, NHFPI examines the level of income necessary to secure basic necessities using the Basic Family Budget concept developed by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank. The Basic Family Budget approach accounts for regional price differences and attempts to assess the true cost of achieving a modest standard of living. This method reflects costs for housing, food, transportation, healthcare, child care (if applicable), taxes, and other necessities, such as clothing, in a particular area for various family types. 

The cost of living in Manchester illustrates the stark difference between the federal poverty measure and actual cost for basic needs. The official federal poverty threshold for a two adult, one child family is $19,055. Under the Basic Family Budget approach, the same family living in Manchester would need an income of $62,684 to afford a modest standard of living, a number that is more than three times the official poverty threshold. In fact, EPI’s Basic Family Budget assessment finds Manchester ranks among the most expensive places to live in the country. 

NHFPI’s research also finds that a sizeable percentage of jobs fail to pay enough for many families to achieve a modest standard of living in the Granite State.

“New Hampshire’s low unemployment rate obscures the fact that many of the jobs that are available do not pay the level of wages required for families to make ends meet,” said Jeff McLynch. “This mismatch leaves many working families with difficult choices, deciding whether to put food on the table or pay the rent, one car repair away from financial disaster. They work tirelessly each day, but remain unable to meet their most immediate needs, much less achieve their longer-term financial goals – saving for retirement, sending their kids to college, or purchasing their own home.” 

Preliminary NHFPI estimates suggest that a substantial share of jobs in the state do not pay enough for families to afford to make ends meet. Based on New Hampshire Office of Employment Security wage data, roughly 64 percent of occupations in New Hampshire likely pay enough for a single person to afford their Basic Family Budget, while only about 56 percent pay enough for a two-worker family of four to do so. More importantly, only 30 percent of occupations pay enough for a single parent with one child to afford a modest standard of living.

Learn more in NHFPI’s paper, Taking the Measure of Need in the Granite State, available online at:  http://www.nhfpi.org/research/state-economy/taking-the-measure-of-need-granite-state.html 


The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to exploring, developing, and promoting public policies that foster economic opportunity and prosperity for all New Hampshire residents, with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Learn more at  www.nhfpi.org. 

In New York, Clinton Calls To Eliminate The Tipped Minimum Wage

 (image Keith Kissel FLIKR)

(image Keith Kissel FLIKR)

ROC United continues efforts to completely eliminate
the tipped minimum wage in New York.

This week, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, spoke to a capacity crowd at the Javits Center in New York, about increasing the minimum wage and ending the sub-minimum or tipped minimum wage.

DNAInfo New York was one of the first to report the news:

“Clinton, who has advocated for raising the federal minimum wage to $12, praised Cuomo’s fight to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, and called out America as the ‘only industrialized country in the world that requires tipped workers to take home their income in tips, instead of wages.’”

Clinton has previously (2014) voiced her opposition to the tipped minimum wage calling it “deeply unfair.”

“In some parts of our country are jobs, like hairdressers or waitresses, where the minimum wage is $2.13 an hour. Because it is assumed they’re gonna make all this money on tips. There is a deep unfairness about that. And we need to make sure the minimum wage is raised so that working women and men have a chance not only to increase their income, but that means more consumers for New York businesses.”

Throughout the labor community this is more commonly known as the One Fair Wage initiative to end the tipped minimum wage and simultaneously increase the minimum wage.

The Restaurant Opportunity Centers United (ROC United) have been pushing candidates and elected leaders alike to support the One Fair Wage campaign. ROC United has been very vocal in the push to raise the New York to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“Today’s announcement from the New York wage board calling for a $15 minimum wage for New York’s fast-food workers is a crucial step forward in the fight for fair pay and a major indictment of the inadequacy of wages throughout the restaurant industry,” said Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Co-Director of ROC United, in July of 2015. “Governor Cuomo and the New York Wage Board’s leadership in responding to the outcry of restaurant workers across the country should serve as an example of the bold action that elected officials can and should take to prioritize the needs of the families they represent.”

However Governor Cuomo failed to include tipped workers in his call to increase the minimum wage.

Today, as Secretary Clinton affirmed her support for eliminating the tipped minimum wage, with Gov. Cuomo in the audience, Saru Jayaraman again called on Gov. Cuomo and the NY State Legislature to eliminate the tipped minimum wage.

“The tipped minimum wage is a destructive, archaic relic of the past that forces restaurant workers — largely women and people of color — to battle disproportionate rates of financial insecurity, poverty, discrimination, and sexual harassment,” stated Jayaraman. “Nearly 70% of tipped restaurant workers are women, 40% of whom are mothers, working in casual dining establishments, and barely able to make ends meet.”

“Governor Cuomo’s wage plan is a good start, but it is not enough. We implore New York’s legislature to not leave behind New York’s 270,000+ tipped workers. It’s time to eliminate the unjust, two-tiered wage system, and establish one fair wage for all New Yorkers,” concluded Jayaraman.

Not only would eliminating the tipped minimum wage help the 270,000 workers in New York but millions of low wage workers throughout the country.

Nationally tipped workers earn of average $9.13 per hour (including tips). Hourly these workers meet the state’s minimum wage requirements but because many of these workers are not given full time employment, tipped workers average just less than $15,000 a year.

Many of these workers are women, specifically women of color, face constant harassment from employers and customers. According to a national survey 66% reported sexual harassment from restaurant management and 78% from customers. These tipped workers are afraid to speak out against their employer because if they do management will move them to less desirable shifts, essentially docking their pay. If they speak out against a customer then the customer will not leave any tip, again resulting in lost wages. It is a lose-lose situation.

Guaranteeing that workers have a steady, livable wage that does not rely on tips will empower workers to speak out against harassment and the other issues that plague the restaurant industry.

Leo W Gerard: The High Cost Of Fighting For $15

2014 Fast Food Strike NYC (FLIKR Annette Bernhardt)

2014 Fast Food Strike NYC (FLIKR Annette Bernhardt)

This is no plea for pity for corporate kingpins like Walmart and McDonald’s inundated by workers’ demands for living wages.

Raises would, of course, cost these billion-dollar corporations something. More costly, though, is the price paid by minimum-wage workers who have not received a raise in six years.  Even more dear is what these workers have paid for their campaign to get raises. Managers have harassed, threatened and fired them.

Despite all that, low-wage workers will return to picket lines and demonstrations Wednesday in a National Day of Action in the fight for $15 an hour. The date is 4 – 15. These are workers who live paycheck to paycheck, barely able to pay their bills, and certainly unable to cope with an emergency. They know the risk they’re taking by participating in strikes for pay hikes. They’ve seen bosses punish co-workers for demonstrating for raises. To lose a job, even one that pays poverty wages, during a time of high unemployment is terrifying. Still, thousands will participate Wednesday. That is valor.

2015-04-12-1428857661-6865200-Fightfor15graphic.jpg

Kip Hedges exhibited that courage. He’s a 61-year-old with 26 years of service as a baggage handler for Delta at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. He wanted better wages for young workers and a union. He said so in a video, noting that “probably close to half make under $15 an hour.”

Delta fired him. The airline said he’d disparaged the company. Apparently Delta believes it has been disparaged if the flying public learns the truth about the way Delta treats workers.

Clearly, Delta planned to shut Hedges up and intimidate other workers. The message to his co-workers was clear: “You wanna talk about the paltry wages you get? Well, let’s talk about this pink slip.”

But when Delta messed with Hedges, it messed up big time. The firing failed to silence him. He continued to protest low wages. His co-workers rallied round him. The media covered his firing and his appeal. He looked like a low-wage worker hero. Delta looked like a vindictive heel.

Unlike Hedges, Shanna Tippen was no activist before she got fired from her minimum-wage job in Pine Bluff, Ark. She was just trying to get by, and falling short by about $200 a month. Her boss at the Days Inn where she worked as a night shift jack-of-all-trades asked her to talk to a Washington Post reporter who had dropped by the hotel to discuss the state’s newly instituted 25-cent increase to the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Fast Food Strike 2014 (FLIKR Annette Bernhardt)

Fast Food Strike 2014 (FLIKR Annette Bernhardt)

Tippen told the reporter, Chico Harlan, that she hoped the little bit of extra money would help her pay for her grandson’s diapers.

After the Post published the story, the manager of the Days Inn, Herry Patel, telephoned Harlan to complain about being quoted in it. Then he fired Tippen. She recounted it to Harlan:

“He said I was stupid and dumb for talking to [The Post].”  Even though, of course, Patel had told Tippen to talk to the reporter. Tippen continued: “He cussed me and asked me why you wrote the article. I said, ‘Because he’s a reporter; that’s what he does.’”

Patel told Harlan that Arkansas voters, who approved the pay increase in a referendum by 66 percent, should not have done it. “Everybody wants free money in Pine Bluff,” Harlan quoted him as saying.

Patel apparently did not understand that Tippen performed work that kept the hotel running every night, which means she earned the money. The truth is that Patel, like so many other employers, believes that employees should work for free.

The Post and other papers wrote about Tippen’s firing, making her an icon for ill-treated, low-wage workers and Patel the personification of miserly bosses.

 

Worker-exploiting employers like McDonald’s, Chipotle and Walmart have shown themselves to be craven in the face of courageous workers’ wage protests as well.

Over the past few months, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has filed charges against McDonald’s and Walmart alleging they violated workers’ rights, including threatening retribution against those who participated in strikes.

In December, the NLRB in California ruled that Walmart illegally punished workers for striking and seeking to unionize. The judge determined that Walmart managers illegally intimidated workers by, for example, telling one, who had tied a rope around his waist to pull a heavy load, “If it was up to me, I would put that rope around your neck.”

In the Chipotle case, the NLRB ruled that a manager in St. Louis illegally fired worker Patrick Leeper for participating in Fight for $15 demonstrations and for talking about wages at work. After the decision, a company spokesperson told the news website Think Progress: “Generally speaking, it is always a top priority for us to remain compliant with all local and federal labor laws.”

“Generally,” Chipotle tries. Generally. Not in this particular case involving low-wage workers demonstrating for better pay. But, you know, generally Chipotle tries to obey the law.

In the original Washington Post story about the tiny increase in the minimum wage in Arkansas, Dominic Flis, whose company owns 18 Burger Kings in central Arkansas, said raising the minimum wage pushes up pay for other workers too. Here’s what he said:

“If somebody was already making $7.50, and minimum wage goes to $7.50, they’ll have some expectation of a raise as well,” Flis said. “And I have to maintain my workforce.”

The Brookings Institute calls this the ripple effect. The pay increase at the bottom ripples all the way up the pay scale.

Hedges, the fired Delta worker, put it another way: “a lot of the better paid workers also understand that the bottom has to be raised otherwise the top is going to fall as well.”

If for no other reason than self-interest, join the gutsy minimum-wage workers at a Fight for $15 event Wednesday.

You Will Not Believe What Wal-Mart is Doing

Image via WikiCommons

Image via WikiCommons

You have got to be kidding me.  

Wal-Mart is rewarding associates who donate money to the Wal-Mart PAC, which works to elect candidates like Speaker John Boehner and Senator Ted Cruz who vehemently oppose raising the minimum wage.

In this excellent article (Wal-Mart’s Unusual Rewards for Employees Who Give to Its PAC) by Josh Eidelson, he reports:

“Liberal groups and a union-backed Walmart worker group are asking the Federal Election Commission to investigate Wal-Mart Stores’ (WMT) policy of rewarding contributions to its political action committee with donations to charity. Under the policy, every $1 an employee donates to Wal-Mart’s PAC, which supports such probusiness candidates as Ohio Republican House Speaker John Boehner, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, and Arkansas Democratic Senator Mark Pryor, triggers a $2 donation to a charity for Wal-Mart employees in need.”

Using charitable contributions to reward PAC donations has become a widespread practice among U.S. corporations, which are restricted by law from donating directly to their PACs. At least seven times over the past two decades, FEC commissioners have been divided over whether to restrict companies from matching the political donations with philanthropic cash.

While such companies as Coca-Cola (KO) and Boeing (BA) also match PAC dollars with charity dollars, Wal-Mart’s policy is unusual. Rather than just a 1-to-1 match, it offers 2 to 1. And instead of giving employees a choice of charities to support, it sends all the matching money to its Associates in Critical Need Trust, which benefit employees facing “extreme economic hardship due to situations outside of their control, including natural disasters.”

That’s right, for every one dollar that workers give to the Wal-Mart PAC, the corporation will donate two dollars to their own charity organization for workers who are suffering financial difficulties.

The Associates in Critical Need Trust is a 501 (c)(3) charity that provides “up to $1,500 to employees facing challenges such as homelessness or illness.

Here are three suggestions for Walmart. 1) Start by paying your workers a living wage so they aren’t forced into homelessness. 2) Provide workers with paid sick time so they can heal without the fear of losing their job for being sick. 3)  Provide workers with healthcare so they will not be forced into financial ruin when they become sick or injured. (Note: Wal-Mart just cut another 30,000 part time workers out of their employee healthcare, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act they can get coverage through their state exchange.)

I hope the FEC tears Wal-Mart apart for violating the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Jackie Cilley: It Is Time To Raise The Minimum Wage

Jackie Cilley (FACEBOOK)

State Rep Jackie Cilley, Image from Cilley For NH on Facebook

An idea is rapidly gaining force around the country, finding support across the political spectrum. Red states Arkansas, Alaska, South Dakota and Nebraska voted last November to join bright-blue cities like San Francisco and Oakland in its support. President Obama and Mitt Romney have both expressed support and Gov. Maggie Hassan added it to her agenda at her inaugural. Liberal icon Ralph Nader and the Pied Piper of the right, Grover Norquist, have even teamed up to advocate for this measure. All these forces aligning can mean only one of two things: the netherworld has indeed frozen over or a good idea transcends political ideology.

While our weather might suggest the former, it’s actually a good idea that’s shifting the political winds: The idea is that American workers deserve a raise, and that increasing their wage can achieve many of the shared concerns of both Republicans and Democrats.

After watching the Legislature during my four years away, I didn’t suffer any illusions about the challenges facing my most important piece of legislation this session, a House Bill to create a livable wage for our New Hampshire workers, including those who make tips. This bill will raise wages to $14.25 over a three-year period and set the tipped minimum wage to the same level over a four-year period. Every year thereafter, if this legislation passes, the wage rate would increase according to the Consumer Price Index. This will take thousands of workers out of poverty and save tens of millions of dollars in public services.

Although states have voted directly to raise the minimum wage from its paltry $7.25 ($2.13 for tipped workers) and support for an increase enjoys the support of over 70 percent of New Hampshire voters, there has been a deep political divide over this topic, stalling attempts at the federal level for more than six years while Speaker Bill O’Brien completely eliminated the New Hampshire minimum wage during the 2011-2012 session.

Consider for a moment why the creation of a livable wage can bridge the divide between the parties. Both sides want to create jobs. Both want to move folks out of poverty. Both want a robust economy with opportunities for all. In fact, many of the goals of Republicans and Democrats are the same. The divide is in how to get there.

This isn’t pandering. It is rational economic policy, well supported by numerous studies and concrete results from states that have raised their minimum wage. Every business owner worth his/her salt knows the simple formula to expanding business and to hiring new employees: more customers must have the ability and willingness to buy your product or service. Setting aside whether you have something to sell that folks want, the ability of a consumer to buy your product is in large part determined by his or her financial resources. This is why three out of five small-business owners support a livable wage.

Let’s face it: Nobody can actually live on the $7.25 federal minimum wage. Even worse is the $2.13 minimum wage that employers of workers who make $30 or more a month in tips are allowed to pay their employees. There are 27,000 tipped workers in New Hampshire who make up 10 percent of our workforce, working in six of the 10 lowest-paid occupations in our state. These workers are disproportionately women; one-third are single moms.

Tipped workers are twice as likely to fall below the poverty line. In fact, the median wage of combined tips and hourly wages for tipped workers in New Hampshire is $8 per hour. These workers are also three times more likely to require public services such as food stamps, housing assistance and fuel assistance, than workers who make a more livable wage.

The economic arguments of opponents of these measures have largely been debunked. Aren’t most people earning minimum wage teenagers doing their first job? Seventy-two percent are no longer in their teens and fully 36 percent are 30 or older. Fourteen percent of minimum wage earners are parents, and 59 percent are women. Twenty-one thousand children in New Hampshire have a parent who would get a raise if the minimum wage were increased.

There are no compelling economic reasons for failing to set a state floor of livable wages. It has not been academic studies, but facts on the ground in states that have raised their minimum wage that proves this. Most recently, economists at Goldman Sachs, hardly a liberal think tank, reviewed the data on 13 states whose minimum wage was increased in 2013.

What they found was that in states where the minimum wage increased, there was faster employment growth than in those whose minimum wage remained depressed. It makes simple economic sense – more people with more money in their pockets means more customers for more goods and services, most notably at the local level where we need it most.

For more information on how to help pass this important legislation, please contact your senator and representatives at gencourt.state.nh.us.

CEOs Paid 331 Times Average Worker, 774 Times Minimum Wage Worker

Executive Pay Watch

2014 Executive PayWatch exposes high paid CEOs in the low wage economy

www.PayWatch.org

While Congress has left for recess failing to fully address economic issues from the minimum wage to unemployment insurance and equal pay, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka unveiled the 2014 Executive PayWatch today. According to its data, U.S. CEOs – the highest paid in the world – pocketed, on average, $11.7 million in 2013 compared to the average worker who earned $35,293. That means CEOs were paid 331 times that of the average worker.

Many of the CEOs highlighted in PayWatch head companies, like Walmart, that are notorious for paying low wages. In 2013, CEOs made 774 times more than those who work for minimum wage. And while many of these companies argue that they can’t afford to raise wages, the nation’s largest companies are earning higher profits per employee than they did five years ago. In 2013, the S&P 500 Index companies earned $41,249 in profits per employee, a 38% increase.

This year, PayWatch highlights five low wage companies through worker testimonials at Walmart, Kellogg’s, Reynolds, Darden Restaurants and T-Mobile.

“These companies are run by short-sighted business leaders, because people who earn minimum wage, for instance, can’t afford cell phones from T-Mobile or dinner at Red Lobster or the Olive Garden, both of which are owned by Darden Restaurants,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “America’s CEOs—as exemplified by the individuals of these companies—are cannibalizing their own consumer base. It’s wrong. It’s unfair, and it’s bad economics.”

PayWatch is the most comprehensive searchable online database tracking the excessive pay of CEOs of the nation’s largest companies. It offers visitors to the website the unique ability to compare their own pay to the pay of top executives.

“CEO Executive PayWatch calls attention to the insane level of compensation for CEOs, while the workers who create those corporate profits struggle for enough money to take care of the basics,” said Trumka. “This database is relevant to every community in the country. And we’ll use this data to organize and mobilize to lift millions of workers out of poverty and to strengthen the middle class.”

What Does It Take To Live In Your State? (Interactive Graphic)

This is a great interactive way to see exactly what it takes to live on the minimum wage.

For New Hampshire a single man/women would need to work 46.9 hours to meet the living wage.  For a couple with two children the number jumps to 64.1 hours a week or a living wage of $20.15 per hour.

If you have trouble interacting with the image, detailed directions below.  Special thanks to Sophia Coppolla (Accountingschoolguide.com) for sending us this image.


Source: Accountingschoolguide.com

How To Interact With this Graphic

1. Adjust the slider at the bottom to match your wage.

2. On the left, select how many adults and children are in your household.

3. Select a state to see where you fall between a poverty wage and a living wage.
– States that are brighter mean that you would earn closer to a living wage in that state.
– States that are darker mean that you would earn closer to a poverty wage in that state.
– The light blue triangle above the wage slider shows the minimum wage for that state.
– The dark blue triangle below the wage slider shows the federal minimum wage.
– The box above your wage listing shows how many hours a week you would have to work just to earn a living wage.

4. To see the nation divided into counties, click on “County View”. To see the nation divided into states, click on “State View”.

5. To zoom in on a particular state, first select the state then click on the plus sign that appears in the corner.
– While zoomed in, you can click on individual counties to see their poverty/living wages.
– To return to the national view, click anywhere outside of the state.

Raising The Minimum Wage Would Improve The Lives Of 4 Million African-Americans

Image via Wiki-Commons

Image via Wiki-Commons

A new study conducted by the AFL-CIO confirms 4,123,000 African American workers would benefit if the federal minimum wage were increased to $10.10 per hour. The study, “Closing the Gap to the American Dream,” which uses information provided by the Economic Policy Institute, found that while African Americans make up 11% of the workforce, up to 14.8% of those workers would benefit from a raise in the minimum wage.

“Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would improve the lives of more than 4 million African Americans,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “This pay raise is vital if we want to get our economy back to pre-recession levels. This is why the AFL-CIO has launched a Raising Wages campaign, to hold Congress accountable to the American people and demand that they raise the minimum wage for the dignity of workers and the sake of our economy and country.”

The report details the state of economic insecurity for many African Americans, who are much more likely to be paid lower wages than others. African Americans often have trouble finding a job, and if they are working, struggle to save for retirement. Hiking the minimum wage to $10.10 would greatly help African American workers across the country.

AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Director Carmen Berkley said, “Raising the minimum wage is critical to African American communities across this nation. With national unemployment for African Americans still lingering in the double digits, any help from President Obama and Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for jobs that African Americans already hold would be welcomed and a boost to our economy.”

The EPI report also highlights that between 2000 and 2007, African American men saw a decrease in weekly earnings of 2.3% compared with white workers, while African American women saw a 3.2% increase in weekly earnings. From 2007 to 2012, the report found that African American women only saw a 1.5% increase in their weekly earnings, lower than white women, while African American men saw virtually no change in their weekly earnings.

Click here to view the report

For more information on the AFL-CIO’s Raising Wages campaign, visithttp://go.aflcio.org/ClosingTheGap

 

Feb. 11th Is Your Chance To Help Raise The Minimum Wage In NH

The fight over raising the minimum wage is heating up.  During President Obama’s State of the Union address he announced that he would use an executive order to mandate that all government contractors pay a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour.  This falls in line with the $10.10 per hour proposal that the President and Democrats have been pushing for months.

During the State of the Union called for more local legislation to push for a higher minimum wage since Congress in unable to pass the proposed increase.

Tonight, I ask more of America’s business leaders to follow John’s lead and do what you can to raise your employees’ wages. To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act.”

Now is your chance to help pass a minimum wage increase right here in New Hampshire.

from http://standupfl.org/event/national-raise-the-wage-day/

On February 11th the NH House Labor Committee will hear testimony for and against raising the minimum wage.  This is where you can help.  We need people to show up and talk with legislators about why it is important to raise the minimum wage.

The specifics of HB 1403 are to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 in 2015 and then to  $9.00 per hour in 2016.  The bill will also tie the NH minimum wage to inflation, which insures that workers will continue to see an increase as their cost of living increases.

Even if you are not comfortable testifying to the committee about raising the minimum wage, we still need your help.  Just being there to show your support is important.

There are multiple events going on Feb 11th as part of this consolidated push to pass HB 1403.  The Voices of Faith for Humane Public Policy and the NH Faith-Labor Dialogue Project are hosting an ‘Interfaith Prayer Breakfast Calling for the Dignity of All Workers’ at
Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, (21 Centre Street, Concord) at 8am.
(Please RSVP if you are planning to attend:
economicjustice.nhcucc@gmail.com)

After the interfaith service the NH AFL-CIO is holding a Raise the Wage Press Conference.  Those who support raising the minimum wage are encouraged to attend the press conference, which begins at 9:30 am in the Lobby of the Legislative Office Building.

Then at 10:30 everyone is encouraged to attend and sign in supporting the passage of HB 1403 at the public hearing (Room 305-307 in the Legislative Office Building). If you are interested in offering testimony for this bill, contact Kurt Ehrenberg, kurtehrenberg@nhaflcio.org for information and tips on delivering testimony.

Thousands of minimum wage workers need your help and your support to ensure the passage of HB 1403 to raise the minimum wage here in New Hampshire.

Granite State Rumblings: Federal Contractors Get Raise, NH Pushes Bill To Increase Minimum Wage

Just hours before the President delivered his fifth State of the Union address, the White House revealed that President Obama will issue an executive order to increase the minimum wage for new federal contract workers.

The action will cover all workers employed under future government contracts, ensuring that none is paid less than $10.10 an hour. In a fact sheet announcing the action, the White House highlighted several occupations that will be helped by the move, including kitchen and laundry workers on military bases, as well as janitors at federal buildings and construction workers at government building sites.

Then, in his State of the Union address, President Obama called on business leaders across the country to raise minimum wages. “Give America a raise,” he said.

“After four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled,” President Obama said.

“The cold, hard fact is that, even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by — let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.”

“Our job is to reverse these trends.  It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything.  But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.”

The President also urged Congress to increase the federal minimum wage, stressing the benefit to women, who hold a majority of lower-wage jobs. Raising women’s pay is just one way to “do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode,” he said.

The White House believes the issue is one that may find bipartisan backing in an election year. Recent polls show most Americans favor raising the minimum wage — nearly three-quarters in a Pew Research poll conducted this month.

In fact, a group of leading economists signed a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders in support of raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour by 2016.

The letter, released by the Economic Policy Institute, endorses a Democratic proposal to raise the minimum wage by ninety-five cents a year over the next three years, and then to tie further increases to inflation. The plan, which is sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative George Miller (D-CA), received the support of President Obama in November.

The letter’s signees, including seven Nobel laureates, say the Miller-Harkin plan would increase the wages of close to 17 million low-wage workers.

“The vast majority of employees who would benefit are adults in working families, disproportionately women, who work at least 20 hours a week and depend on these earnings to make ends meet,” the letter reads, “At a time when persistent high unemployment is putting enormous downward pressure on wages, such a minimum-wage increase would provide a much-needed boost to the earnings of low-wage workers.”

In his State of the Union address, the President made the following statement, “Americans understand that some people will earn more than others, and we don’t resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success.  But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.”

We agree.

Growing Up Granite

We do not know if Congress will increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. We do know, however, that it would affect thousands of workers here in New Hampshire.

In Sunday’s Nashua Telegraph, David Brooks writes:

How much would it increase pay, and for how many? That depends on the raise, of course, but the rate that Obama suggested would affect tens of thousands of people in New Hampshire.

As of 2012, there were 64 labor categories in the state, roughly half the entire list of categories, in which the average entry-level wage was below $10.10 – often far below.

Surveys run by New Hampshire Employment Security, for example, say that people working in the category “cooks, fast food” had an average entry-level hourly wage in 2012 of $8.15; maids were at $8.16; actors at $8.27; parking lot attendants at $8.29; “farmworkers, farm and ranch hands” at $8.52; and veterinary assistants at $8.60.

These are average starting wages, or the mathematical mean; which means many workers in each category make less than this when they start.

A think tank called the Economic Policy Institute estimated in December that a $10.10 minimum wage would directly affect 12.8 percent of all workers in the country. In New Hampshire, it estimated that 77,000 people currently make less than that rate, although that figure is extrapolated from national data.

The EPI estimated that a $10.10 minimum wage would affect 9.7 percent of working men and 14.7 percent of working women, a reflection of the larger number of females in low-paying occupations such as cleaning.

Even if Congress does not act, there is legislation here in the Granite State to raise the minimum wage, HB 1403. The bill calls for an increase to the minimum wage in two steps ($8.25 an hour and $9.00 an hour) and then indexing it to the cost of living after that.

The increase to $8.25 would take place on January 1, 2015.

The increase to $9.00 would take place on January 1, 2016.

Every January 1 after that, a new minimum wage, reflecting an annual cost of living adjustment, would take effect.  For instance, on January 1, 2017, a minimum wage of say $9.15 (depending on the rate of inflation) will take effect.  On January 1, 2018, the minimum would go up to $9.35 (again depending on inflation, etc.) and so on…

New Hampshire’s minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living. At $7.25 an hour – ($290.00 a week) – ($15,080.00 a year) – for a full-time employee, it leaves that worker with one child below the federal poverty level. And should s/he have more than 1 child, even deeper in poverty.

Poverty line Raising the minimum wage would help to lift hard working Granite State families out of poverty. It would help stimulate our economy, and it would help close the gender wage gap. Not only that – nearly ¾ of Americans support raising the minimum wage, according to a recent poll.

And in a January 2014 Public Policy Polling survey of New Hampshire voters when asked about raising the minimum wage, this is how they responded:

Q25 Would you support or oppose raising the
minimum wage to $10 an hour?

Support ……………… .60%
Oppose ……………… .29%
Not sure …………….. .11%

This bill has a hearing next Tuesday, February 11th at 10:15 am in the House Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services Committee. Please take the time this week to send an e-mail or call the committee members and let them know that you support raising the minimum wage in New Hampshire.

What’s Happening In New Hampshire

Tuesday, February 4, 1:45am – 2:45pm, SB203 Hearing – relative to permissible uses of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards *IMPORTANT*, SH 103 Finance

Click here to see more events in New Hampshire!

 

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 184 other subscribers

  • Advertisement