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Minimum Wage Is Not Living Wage

When the Republicans that control the state recently raised Ohio’s minimum wage to match the federal rate of $5.15, there was little cause for rejoicing. The federal minimum wage has not been increased since September 1997. Five fifteen an hour comes out to $10,700 annually, to support oneself or family. There’s a statewide initiative that I support that will raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $6.85 and increase the income of one in seven Ohio workers. An estimated 297,000 workers in Ohio make less than $6.85 an hour, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Another 423,000 people would be affected by a “spillover” effect that would cause their slightly-above minimum wages, but less than living wages, to rise. In all, an estimated 730,000 workers, 58% of them women, would benefit from higher wages if the $6.85 an hour initiative goes through.

Not only should the initiative go through, but I propose if I am governor, to tie minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation. It is the poor and the working poor who are hit the hardest by the highly inflationary fuel prices. Moreover, I will instruct Ohio state agencies to only contract with companies that pay a livable wage. Even at $6.85 an hour, workers would only be paid $14,248 a year, which is still 14% below the federal poverty level. All public jobs in Ohio should be paying at least $10 an hour. When we make the state more livable for the least of our brethren, we make the state more livable for all people.

2 replies
  1. Dave Kovacs
    Dave Kovacs says:

    Come on, Bob, 6.85/hr is still a sham and a shame!

    Take this oppurtunity to show how timid democrats are blowing real progressive options by not calling for a living wage of at least 10/hr

    Strickland must love this 6.85/hr initiative. Makes him look like a populist without having to do any real damage to his big business cronies.

    Be a threat, Bob! Be a threat! Strickland, with his 6.85/hr is not a threat! You can be a threat by calling him on it. Inviting him to work on a new initiative: Ohio Living Wage by 2008!

    Be a threat, Bob.

    And keep on talking about the important economic issues facing Ohio’s workers.


  2. Retired in Ohio
    Retired in Ohio says:

    I agree. Raising the minimum wage to $6.85 is not nearly enough. Why not $8 an hour? That’s still a ridiculously low amount, but it is getting closer to the “living wage” figure.

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