Raise up America’ Effort Intensifies

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Progressive Congress, in conjunction with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, joined fast-food and retail workers, clergy and community supporters Monday to speak out against wage theft and tell the rest of Congress that it needs to focus on raising pay and bringing good jobs to cities like Milwaukee.

U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore, Keith Ellison, and Danny Davis from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and fast-food workers who are part of the Raise up Milwaukee campaign rallied at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, the local agency responsible for policing wage theft, to tell unscrupulous employers who steal money from workers it’s time to pay up.

The fastest growing jobs in our economy are also the lowest paidand, to make matters worse,lower-wage and middle-wage jobs have seen significantly bigger declines in their real wages during therecoverythan higher-wage occupations, according toa report released last week by the National Employment Law Project.A recent study by the Economic Policies Institute shows that an adult with a child in Milwaukee needs to make $50,967, or $24.50 an hour if working full time, just to make ends meet.

But many fast-food and retail workers don’t earn enough to cover basic necessities like food, clothing and rent. Many make Wisconsin’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which is only $15,000 a year. It’s been four years since the federal minimum wage, which also stands at $7.25, was raised.

On top of that, employers are stealing wages by compelling workers to work off the clock, denying them overtime pay or forcing them to use fee-laden pay cards to get paid, among other measures. Big, profitable employers like McDonald’s and YUM! Fail to understand that better wages for their workers will mean millions of families will have more money to spend at their stores.

Published by Michael Alcaraz

07/23/2013