A few weeks ago members of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired American, New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) challenged Senator Kelly Ayotte to live on minimum wage for a week.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour that leads many to make choices between feeding their families and filling their gas tanks. This is why millions of Americans support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
Senator Ayotte supported the GOP filibuster that blocked an “up and down” down of raising the minimum wage.
Activists argued that Senator Ayotte should spend a week in the shoes of a minimum wage worker by joining Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Tim Ryan, Barbara Lee, Mark Takano, and former Gov. Ted Strickland in taking the Minimum Wage Challenge and living on $77 for a week, the take home pay of a minimum wage worker.
“In 1992, my family and I fled our country, the former Yugoslavia, due to the civil war,” said Nina Mujakovic, small business owner. “Since 1998, my family and I have worked very hard to gain back what we lost. We have obtained our American Dream and others need to have the opportunity to achieve theirs. An increase in minimum wage will help them along that path.”
Activist displayed what the reality of a $77.00 food basket looked like.
“Raising the minimum wage is a no-brainer in so many ways,” added Lucy Edward, a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Better incomes lead to a better standard of living, and better health, reducing health care costs. Better incomes lead to better funding for schools, leading to more educated young people who will again have better jobs and even start their own businesses. Raising the minimum wage, and other policies that support working families, are a positive feedback economic engine.”
At the event, Lucy Edwards highlighted how raising the minimum wage will help strengthen our Social Security system.
“Once you understand that the Social Security benefit is calculated on lifetime earnings, and that the Trust Fund is funded from current earnings, you can immediately see that if a person makes more money, not only do their benefits on retirement increase, but the amount they pay into the Social Security Trust Fund increases today. Raising the Federal minimum wage, passing the Paycheck Equity legislation through Congress, and funding projects that create jobs all bring immediate returns to the Trust Fund, extending its ability to pay full benefits into the future.”
Activists vowed to watch and wait to see if Senator Ayotte would accept the challenge to live on minimum wage for a week. They are hopeful that she will then understand the difficulty of getting by on $77 a week.
Will Senator Ayotte accept the Minimum Wage Challenge and take one week to see what it is like for the millions of Americans struggling to survive on the minimum wage? Odds are against it, but with pressure from people like you, that could change.
If you liked this post consider subscribing to the NH Labor News via email. There are more great articles to come.Matt Murray is founder of the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message, and oversees the NH Labor News Facebook page. Follow @NHLabor_News on Twitter.
Want to get up on your Soapbox? Opinion-driven articles are welcome. Send submissions to Carol Robidoux at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.