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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate's second-ranking Democrat says he'd be open to negotiating a compromise if Republicans block Democrats' efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
 
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin says Democrats' goal remains a $10.10 minimum wage.
 
In the coming days, the Senate could debate a plan by Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin that would gradually lift today's minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016.
 
Democrats will need 60 Senate votes to overcome Republican opposition to the increase to $10.10. That means they will need at least five GOP votes to prevail.
 
No Republicans have publicly backed that increase, and Democrats have seemed unlikely to succeed.
 
The minimum wage bill is among several income-related issues Democrats are pushing as this fall's congressional elections near.
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn is making his push to increase Illinois' minimum wage by shopping at a Gap clothing store in downtown Chicago.
 
The chain has instituted a policy of paying entry-level employees a higher minimum wage.
 
Quinn bought three sweaters for his young nieces on Thursday. The total was about $77 and he paid cash. Quinn called the store an example and added that he got quality clothes at a good price.
 
Illinois' minimum wage is $8.25, which is $1 more than the federal wage. Quinn wants to see Illinois' rate jump to at least $10 by the end of the year.
 
The issue also is a major campaign theme in his re-election bid against Republican businessman Bruce Rauner.
Published in Local News
St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - A couple of St. Louis restaurants want to make sure their workers are getting a fair wage.  
 
Pi Pizzeria and Gringo co-founder Chris Sommers has announced starting April 1st, he will be increasing the minimum wage he pays his workers to $10.10 an hour.  Sommers says this minimum wage needs to be mandated at a federal level. "If they're not going to do it on their own, then it comes down to the federal government" says Sommers,"because the federal government ends up making up for the slack anyway.
 
An employee working at Missouri’s current minimum wage of $7.50 an hour averages $15,600 dollars a year.  
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - The chief strategist behind Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election campaign calls the Chicago Democrat a tough "street fighter" who knows how to win elections.
   
Bill Hyers told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that the race will boil down to a "clear contrast" between Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner.
 
Hyers most recently managed Bill de Blasio's successful campaign for New York mayor. In 2012 he managed President Barack Obama's Pennsylvania campaign operations. He also was Midwest director for Obama in 2008.
 
Hyers says Quinn shouldn't be underestimated and is ready for a tough fight. He says those who've dismissed Quinn before have been wrong. Quinn narrowly won a first full term in 2010.
 
Quinn's campaign has focused on Rauner's wealth and changing stance on raising the minimum wage.
Published in Local News

Supporters of raising the minimum wage are set to rally yet again.

 

The event will take place outside of City Hall in downtown St. Louis. Participants are urging leaders to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The Congressional Budget Office came out with a report saying that raising the bottom wage that much could result in tens of thousands of job losses.

 

The rally runs from 1 until 2 this afternoon.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Supporters of a higher wages are urging Missouri lawmakers to let voters decide whether to increase the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour.
 
Missouri's minimum wage currently is $7.50 an hour - 25 cents higher than the federal minimum wage.
 
Several low-income workers testified Tuesday before a Missouri Senate committee in support of a proposed ballot measure increasing the minimum wage. The workers said they often must skip meals because they don't earn enough to pay all the bills for food, housing, utilities and transportation.
 
A Webster University economist said a minimum wage increase would help the economy, because workers likely would spend the additional money.
 
Lobbyists for several business groups testified against the measure, citing concerns that it could squeeze low-skill workers out of jobs.
Published in Local News

Supporters of an increase to the minimum wage are rallying in Jefferson City today.

 

They plan to testify for the Small Business, Insurance, and Industry committee to support a bill that raises Missouri's minimum wage to $10 an hour.

 

Research from the Economic Policy Institute says that a family of four needs to earn nearly $65,000 a year to support a modest living. A full-time minimum wage worker makes less than $16,000 a year now.

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 02:18

Questions and answer about Obama's wage plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Relatively few Americans — less than 5 percent of hourly workers — toil for the minimum wage today.
 
Yet President Barack Obama's push to offset years of inflation by raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would ripple through the economy and touch the lives of millions more workers and their families.
 
Here are some questions and answers about Obama's proposal:
 
___
 
Q: How much is the U.S. minimum wage now?
 
A: It's $7.25 an hour, or about $15,000 per year for full-time work. For a worker supporting a family of two, that falls just below the federal poverty line.
 
A minimum wage of $10.10 would mean earning about $21,000 per year.
 
___
 
Q: How many Americans work for minimum wage?
 
A: About 1.6 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are a smaller share of the workforce than in previous decades.
 
Another 2 million people are paid even less, because of various exceptions in the law. Many are waiters, bellhops and others whose wages are augmented by tips from customers. Their minimum is lower — $2.13 an hour — and hasn't gone up for more than two decades. Obama supports boosting the minimum for tipped workers to $7.07.
 
Together, both groups make up 4.7 percent of workers paid by the hour, and even less of the workforce when salaried workers are included.
 
___
 
Q: Are these the only workers who would get a boost from Obama's plan?
 
A: No. Millions more people who earn less than $10.10 an hour would get an automatic raise. Many of them work in states that have imposed a minimum wage that's higher than the current federal one.
 
And some people who already make more than $10.10 would get raises, too, as businesses adjusted their pay scales upward.
 
Democratic lawmakers pushing for the increase predict it would lead to raises for some 30 million people. Republican opponents counter that it could force companies to reduce hiring or even lay off some workers.
 
___
 
Q: How many states have a minimum wage higher than the federal one?
 
A: Twenty-one states, plus the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
None is as high as the wage Obama seeks. Washington state's is highest at $9.32 an hour, adjusted annually for inflation. California's minimum wage is set to climb to $10 in 2016.
 
State lawmakers aren't waiting for a divided Congress to act. Democratic legislators are pushing minimum-wage increases in more than half of the states this year, although several are political longshots.
 
___
 
Q: Who makes minimum wage?
 
A: Most are workers in part-time jobs. They tend to be in the service industry, especially in restaurant and sales jobs.
 
Most are adults. But teens and young people make up a disproportionately large share: half of minimum-wage workers are under age 25.
 
Nearly three-quarters have a high school degree or more education. More than three-quarters are white.
 
Nearly 2 out of 3 are female.
 
___
 
Q: Where did the minimum wage come from?
 
A: It started at 25 cents per hour in the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. Since then, Congress has raised it 22 times. Its value peaked in the 1960s, but the wage hasn't kept up with inflation since then.
 
The last increase was in 2007, during the presidency of George W. Bush. It was phased in to reach $7.25 in 2009.
 
Obama wants the wage to be indexed to inflation, so it would rise automatically in the future.
 
___
 
Q: Why not raise the minimum wage?
 
Q: Many congressional Republicans and other opponents say that would dampen hiring or even spark layoffs at a time when the nation is struggling with high unemployment. They argue that much of the cost would be passed along to consumers as higher prices. And they say it isn't an efficient way to help the poor, because many people earning the minimum wage are part of a middle-class or higher-earning households.
 
___
 
Q: So what do Obama and Democratic supporters say?
 
A: They say that raising the minimum wage would boost the economy and create jobs, because cash-strapped workers tend to spend any extra money that comes in. Supporters argue that boosting low wages would help narrow the gap between the nation's poorest and richest families. And they say full-time workers with families shouldn't have to live in poverty.
Published in National News
   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn is using the holiday weekend honoring Martin Luther King Jr. to continue pressing for raising Illinois' minimum wage to at least $10.
   The Democratic governor said while visiting a Chicago church Sunday that raising the state's minimum wage from $8.25 would be a key component in what he called the "war on poverty."
   Quinn says "Dr. King's legacy was one of service, compassion and inclusion," and that "we can continue his mission to eliminate poverty by raising the minimum wage."
   Republicans and business groups say raising the minimum wage kills jobs. Both the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce have come out against proposed minimum wage increases.
   Illinois last raised its minimum wage in 2010 under a series of incremental increases.
 
Published in Local News

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Democrats want to make an increase in the minimum wage a major campaign issue in 2014, but in California a proposal to push the mark to $12 an hour is coming from a registered Republican who once tried to unseat Gov. Pete Wilson.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ron Unz says a wage jump would nourish the economy and lift low-paid workers from dependency on food stamps and other government aid.

Democrats in Congress are pushing a bill to raise the $7.25 federal minimum to over $10 an hour.

Unz is a former publisher of The American Conservative magazine with a history of against-the-grain political activity, including pushing a 1998 ballot proposal that dismantled California's bilingual education system.

His proposal has not yet qualified for the state ballot.

Published in National News
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