WASHINGTON - June 23 - The Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign is calling on the House of Representatives to represent the people by voting to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to at least $7.25 an hour.
The national Campaign, a fast-growing partnership of more than 70 major national and state faith and community groups, said the defeat of the Kennedy Amendment Wednesday in the U.S. Senate is "morally reprehensible."
Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry, the Let Justice Roll Campaign National Coordinator, said, "It is a moral outrage that members of Congress think they need another cost of living adjustment, bringing their pay to nearly $170,000 a year, while leaving full-time minimum wage workers at just $10,700 a year for nine long years since 1997."
"How would members of Congress like to wake up every day knowing they will have to choose between rent and health care, putting food in the refrigerator or gas in the car," Rev. Sherry said. "Talking about values is no substitute for valuing hardworking men and women all across this nation who need a decent minimum wage."
Tens of thousands of Let Justice Roll supporters are calling and writing their elected officials with a clear message: A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it. A raise to $7.25 an hour is the least we can do now for minimum wage workers who have gone without a raise for nine long years.
The Campaign believes the minimum wage is a bedrock moral value. It is immoral that workers who care for children, the ill and the elderly struggle to care for their own families. It is immoral that the minimum wage keeps people in poverty instead of out of poverty.
This week, the Senate was unwilling to follow the Golden Rule: Do to others as you would have them do to you. The House can act now to show they care not only about their own paychecks, but they care about the nation's poorest workers by increasing the minimum wage.
The Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign works to raise the minimum wage at the federal and state level, and played a leading role in recent state minimum wage increases in Arkansas, Michigan and West Virginia. Let Justice Roll organizers are working now in support of ballot initiatives and legislative efforts to increase the minimum wage in states such as Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Raising the minimum wage is good for workers, business and our economy. States that have raised their minimum wage above the federal level have had better employment trends, including among retail and small businesses, than states that have not. It's time for the federal minimum wage to increase so that workers in every state can earn a living.
A recently released report entitled "A Just Minimum Wage: Good For Workers, Business and Our Future," by Holly Sklar and the Rev. Paul Sherry, counters all the arguments against raising the minimum wage and offers vital new insight into why the minimum wage is so important. The report shows that raising the minimum wage is an economic imperative for the enduring strength of our workforce, businesses, communities and economy, as well as a moral imperative for the very soul of our nation. "A Just Minimum Wage" was produced by the American Friends Service Committee and the National Council of Churches USA in support of the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign. Copies are available in .pdf format at www.letjusticeroll.org and in hard copy by contacting Leslie Tune at the National Council of Churches USA at
(202) 481-6927 or via email at Ltune@ncccusa.org.
Additional information about the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign can be found online at www.letjusticeroll.org