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July 23, 2009
3:35 PM


Mark McCullough 202-730-7283

Tomorrow’s Minimum Wage Increase Will Strengthen America’s Economy

Congress Needs to Pass Employee Free Choice Act to Ensure Future Gains for Workers, Communities

WASHINGTON - July 23 - Starting tomorrow, the Federal minimum wage is increasing to $7.25 per hour, the last part of the 2007 minimum wage legislation passed by Congress. A recent Economic Policy Institute study found that the increase will generate an economic stimulus in the form of $5.5 billion in additional consumer spending over the next 12 months.

"Tomorrow's minimum wage increase is an important step in strengthening our economy by putting $1,400 a year in the pockets of 13 million hardworking Americans who make the Federal minimum wage," said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger. "But when we can give the very banks that tanked our economy more than $24 trillion in bailout funds and other guarantees, which amounts to almost $80,000 for every American, we must do more to help working families.

"For millions of hardworking Americans, their only opportunity for a raise is controlled by which way the political wind blows in Washington. But it doesn't have to be this way. Congress must pass the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would allow workers to bargain with their employers for better job security, wages and benefits to ensure that millions more Americans have good jobs with real benefits and a pathway to the middle class.

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending millions trying to block this pro-worker legislation just as they spent millions trying to stop the minimum wage bill, because it will make sure that when our national economy recovers it is shared with the workers who helped created it, not just those at the very top.

"Even with this increase, the new minimum wage still means a family of four lives in poverty and would work more than five and a half years to pay their $80,000 slice of the Wall Street bailouts and promises. Congressional leaders, like Congressman George Miller who fought for 10 years to pass the minimum wage increase, Senator Reid and other cosponsors, must continue to act on issues like the Employee Free Choice Act that will strengthen working families and our economy."


With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.


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