WASHINGTON - November 15 - Forty ACORN members from around the country, including president Maude Hurd, Ohio leader Julie Smith and spokesperson Alicia Russell, will join with U.S. Senators on Thursday to celebrate minimum wage ballot initiative victories, and ask the incoming Congress to make increasing the federal minimum wage its top priority when it convenes in January.
“Around the country, the American people have spoken by passing minimum wage increases: voters believe that hard work deserves fair pay,’’said Alicia Russell Chair of Arizona ACORN's Political Action Committee, and leader in the successful ballot campaign to raise Arizona's minimum wage. "Now it’s time for the new U.S. Congress to establish a higher minimum wage and place the needs of working families on the top of its agenda.’’
Scheduled speakers include Senators Ted Kennedy, Charles Schumer, Tom Harkin, Hillary Clinton; Alicia Russell, ACORN; John Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO; Lenny Jones, Missouri Campaign Director (SEIU);and Rev. Paul Sherry, Let Justice Roll.
The press conference will address State and Federal Minimum Wage Increases on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2 p.m., Room 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
On Election Day, ACORN members in four states -- Missouri, Arizona, Colorado, and Ohio – celebrated the overwhelming success of ballot initiative campaigns to raise the minimum wage. Working with a wide range of partners, ACORN helped initiate and organize these campaigns and coordinated signature-gathering that qualified them for the ballot. ACORN then ran ambitious field operations – especially in MO and OH, where thousands of members, volunteers and staff participated. The house-to-house campaign not only delivered a raise to 1.5 million workers, but also increased voter participation in the low and moderate income and minority neighborhoods where ACORN works.
In addition to pushing for an immediate raise in the federal minimum wage, ACORN leaders say they will follow up on wage increase victories by pushing its “Working Families Agenda” at both the state and federal levels. ACORN calling for: 1) a higher minimum wage, indexed to inflation; 2) expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) ; 2) a right to paid sick days for all workers; and 3) subsidies and tax credits to help families with cost of child care.
“On November 7th, we did the job that Congress refused to do by taking a pay raise to the people,” said ACORN President Maude Hurd. “We want elected officials at all levels to pay attention to the mandate that voters laid down: hard working families deserve a better deal—that should be the first order of business.” ACORN worked to increase voter turnout in low income communities across the nation this year through its Precinct Action Leader program and volunteer and staff door-to-door campaigns, reaching more than 580,809 voters in 20 states by Election Day. ACORN helped over 540,000 people register to vote in 2006.