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American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 25, 2006
2:23 PM

CONTACT: American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
Esmeralda Aguilar 202-637-5018

 
10 Years After the Last Congressional Vote Raising the Minimum Wage, Working Families Nationwide Blast U.S. Reps. for Blocking Federal Minimum Wage Increase
As Congress Stalls, the AFL-CIO’s “America Needs a Raise” Campaign Builds Momentum to Raise Wages of Lowest-Paid Workers
Actions in Ohio, Florida, and New Mexico This Week
 

WASHINGTON - July 25 - Ten years after the last congressional vote to increase the federal minimum wage, working families, community activists, and religious supporters are uniting in cities across the U.S. to demand that Congress give low-wage workers a raise by increasing the federal minimum wage to $7.25. These actions are part of AFL-CIO’s “America Needs a Raise” campaign which has also led efforts in 19 states to increase the minimum wage through state legislation or ballot initiatives this year.

“It’s outrageous that these elected leaders have given themselves raise after raise while refusing to raise the minimum wage, at all, for ten years,” said AFL-CIO John Sweeney. “Shame on them for catering to big corporations at the expense of hard-working, average people.”

On Wednesday, July 26 at noon, workers will gather outside of Rep. Bilirakis’ (R-FL) office in Tampa, Rep. Shaw’s (R-FL) office in West Palm Beach and Rep. Wilson’s (R-NM) office in Albuquerque to protest their votes against a raise for America’s lowest-paid workers. Workers in Cincinnati, OH will demonstrate in front of Rep. Steve Chabot’s (R-OH) office at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25.

Last week, workers held demonstrations at Rep. Hart’s (R-PA) office in Alison Park, PA, Rep. Pryce’s (R- OH) office in Columbus, OH and shadowed Rep. Kennedy (R-MN) at the Lumberjack Parade in Stillwater, MN. Next week, union activists will hold an event in Iowa among other locations.

This week’s events are part of a series of actions union members are holding in July to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the last vote increasing the national minimum wage. Congress last voted to raise the minimum wage in the summer of 1996, with the first step of an increase in 1996 and the second in 1997. Since then, the real value of the minimum wage has dropped to its lowest level in 51 years, devastating America’s lowest income families and depressing living standards for many more. Meanwhile, many members of Congress have received eight pay raises for themselves while shamelessly blocking attempts to raise the federal minimum wage for America’s lowest paid workers. The AFL-CIO’s “America Needs a Raise” campaign is currently driving ballot initiatives in six states: Missouri, Ohio, Arizona, Montana, Colorado and Nevada, and has pushed minimum wage legislation this year in 13 others.

For more information on the AFL-CIO’s “America Needs a Raise”, visit www.americaneedsaraise.org.

Below is a partial list of where union members are holding minimum wage events:

Tampa, FL Wed., July 26 at 12noon
10330 North Dale Mabry, outside Congressman Michael Bilirakis’ office West Palm Beach

Wed., July 26 at 12noon
222 Lakeview Avenue, outside Congressman Clay Shaw’s office Albuquerque, NM

Wed., July 26 at 12noon
The Galleria on 2nd and Copper, outside Congresswoman Heather Wilson’s office Cincinnati, OH

Tues., July 25 at 1:30 p.m.
3003 Carew Tower, 441 Vine Street, outside Congressman Steve Chabot’s office Stillwater, MN

Sun, July 23 at 1:00 p.m.
Lumberjack Days Parade, protesting against Congressman Mark Kennedy’s opposition to minimum wage increase Iowa

Monday, July 31
Location TBA Columbus, OH

Thurs, July 20 at 1:30 p.m.
500 S. Front St. Downtown Columbus, outside Congresswoman Deborah Pryce’s office Alison Park, PA

Wed., July 19 at 1:30 p.m.
4655 Route 8, Suite 124G, outside Congresswoman Melissa Hart’s office.

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