Most Minnesotans earning minimum wage currently pull in $7.25 an hour. According to the JOBS NOW Coalition, that means a couple with two children would have to work 155 hours each week to meet their basic needs.
Raising the minimum wage will be up for debate again when the 2014 legislative session begins next month. Will lawmakers succeed this year, after the DFL-controlled House and Senate couldn't reach a compromise last year? And how does our local debate fit into the larger, nationwide narrative on the minimum wage?
From the New York Times:
At least one part of the labor force has expanded significantly since the recession hit: the low-wage part, made up of burger flippers, home health aides and the like.
Put simply, the recession took middle-class jobs, and the recovery has replaced them with low-income ones, a trend that has exacerbated income inequality. According to Labor Department data, about 1.7 million workers earned the minimum wage or less in 2007. By 2012, the total had surged to 3.6 million, with millions of others earning just a few cents or dollars more.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MINIMUM WAGE:
• What a Higher Minimum Wage Does for Workers and the Economy
Raising the minimum wage is neither as wonderful as its advocates claim nor as dangerous as its detractors warn. On the upside, it would increase pay for millions of Americans, not only those earning the minimum but also those at fixed increments above it. ... On the downside, a higher wage floor would undoubtedly price some marginal workers out of the market. (Peter Coy and Susan Berfield, writing in Bloomberg Businessweek)