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Minimum Wage

Privatization Update: Schools, Prisons, Mental Health -- and What States are Doing to Hold Contractors Accountable

Given the central role of private contractors in delivering public services, this Dispatch continues our series of Privatization Updates (see November's edition). Today we focus on current privatization debates in the education, prison and mental health sectors -- and what states are doing to increase accountability for contractors.

Workers without Borders

NEW YORK TIMES
March 10, 2009
Op-Ed Contributor

Workers Without Borders

AMERICANS are hardly in the mood to welcome new immigrants. The last thing we need, the reasoning goes, is more competition for increasingly scarce jobs. But the need for immigration reform is more urgent than ever.

Montana Defeats Attack on Minimum Wage, Cost-of-Living Increases for Working Families

Recently conservatives in Montana sought to roll back the annual cost-of-living wage increases for minimum wage workers that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2006 by 73-27%. Montana is one of twenty-seven states (plus the District of Columbia) that has a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage, and one of eleven states that index the minimum wage to the consumer price index. Montana progressives successfully fought a conservative push by the restaurant industry to keep wages stagnant.

Indexing Minimum Wage to Inflation Critical for Low-Income Working Families

Washington State minimum wage workers got a raise January 1st to $8.55 per hour -- now the highest minimum wage in the country.   Like nine other states, Washington automatically increases its minimum wage each year at the rate of inflation to make sure families don't face a de facto pay cut as rising costs eat into family budgets.  Because the federal minimum wage is not indexed to inflation in this way, we have seen a decline in its value from $9.34 in inflation-adjusted dollars down to just $6.55 per hour this past year.  This trend highlights why state efforts to index the minimum wage to keep up with inflation are so critical.

NYT editorial: Wages of Fear

December 3, 2008
Editorial

Wages of Fear

Fear, abuse, exploitation and crime are real-life concerns for the immigrant poor and working class, even in comfortable suburbs like Long Island’s.

States Still Leading Feds on Minimum Wage

With food and gas prices rising rapidly, low-wage workers can at least welcome an increase in the federal minium wage to $6.55 per hour scheduled to go into effect on July 24th.  Even better, a number of states will also be increasing their minimum wage rates even higher than the federal rate: