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Minimum Wage

On January 1st, 2008, California’s lowest-wage workers got a pay raise as the state increased the minimum wage.

We would like to thank all of the union, community advocates, and low wage workers that made this victory possible for working people in California.

While this wage increase is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t address the bigger problem: a rate of inflation that is outpacing the minimum wage. According to the California Budget Project, a single adult working full-time would need to earn more than $13.00 an hour just to cover basic expenses such as housing, food, transportation and health care. These figures show that the working poor are unable to make ends meet under the current minimum wage standards. We must link the minimum wage to actual costs of living for greater economic stability.

 

Why Does California Need to Tie the Minimum Wage to the Cost of Living?

Basic necessities are increasing in our state. From 2000 to 2005, the cost of renting an apartment increased 45 percent, the cost of a gallon of gas increased 44 percent and the cost of a gallon of milk increased 23 percent.

California’s minimum wage has declined 31 percent from 1968 to 2000. During 22 of those years, there was no increase at all in the state’s minimum wage, while inflation seriously eroded the relative value of that income.

Indexing the minimum wage to inflation is the only way to ensure that minimum wage workers can begin to escape poverty. And it is not only the right thing to do, but it also enjoys broad public support. Seventy-three percent of voters support indexing the minimum wage to inflation.

Research on the impact of an increase in the minimum wage on workers and the economy.

Min. Wage Rates Nationwide

The Fair Labor Standards Act permits states and cities to pass their own minimum wage laws as long as they are not lower than under federal law.

Help Raise the Federal Minimum Wage

In 2007, the federal minimum wage finally increased from $5.15 (where it had been frozen since 1997) to $5.85. The second step raised the minimum wage to $6.55 on July 24, 2008; and the third step raised the minimum wage to $7.25 on July 24, 2009.