Brown pushes Minimum Wage Act

More than 70 years after President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, a Democratic Congressman from Ohio is pushing to raise people’s standard of living by introducing the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is a co-sponsor on proposed legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour in three steps and provide the first minimum wage increase to tipped employees in more than 20 years.

“The minimum wage helped to lift millions of Americans from poverty and helped them to get a start to join the middle class,” Brown said Wednesday during a media teleconference. “Today we are coming out of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Wall Street banks and corporate executives are earning record profits, but too many Ohio families are still struggling.

“Ohio citizens work hard, play by the rules, and should be able to take care of their families, but too many Ohioans are working harder than ever — and getting less for it,” the legislator said. “Some 1.3 million Ohioans are working a minimum wage job, and a working full-time minimum wage earner in Ohio, which is more than most states, would earn $16,000 which simply isn’t enough to do what they need to do.”

Brown is the co-sponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25 — in three steps of 95 cents — then provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living.

The bill would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers — which currently stands at just $2.13 an hour — for the first time in more than 20 years, to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

According to the National Employment Law Project, the minimum wage has lost more than 30 percent over the last 40 years when it peaked at its earning power in 1968.

Brown explained in a news release that if the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be worth approximately $10.55 per hour today.

During the teleconference, he said increasing the minimum wage would boost gross domestic product by nearly $33 billion and generate 140,000 new jobs over the course of three years as workers spend their raises at local businesses and communities.