Jewish Labor Coalition Backing $15 Min. Wage

The Jewish Labor Committee has talked a coalition of 120 Jewish groups into supporting raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. It’s now $7.25 and hasn’t risen in a decade. With strong labor support, the U.S. House’s ruling Democrats unveiled the minimum wage hike bill in late January.

JLC Acting Executive Director Arieh Lebowitz said the coalition, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, OKd the pro-wage hike resolution at its annual conference, in D.C. on Feb 9-12.

The resolution updates a 2014 measure calling for a raise to $10.10 hourly. It cites the Torah – the Five Books of Moses – prophetic teachings and current conditions to support the increase. And it points out who needs it most: Women, service-sector workers and minorities.

“The federal minimum wage law was enacted in 1938 to establish a floor, below which wages would not go, but for too many workers the floor is also the ceiling,” it says. 

“Historically, minimum wage workers were more likely to be the less advantaged among us — younger rather than older, female rather than male, African-American or Latino rather than white — and that is still the case. Even though the current unemployment rate is low, workers of every age, gender and race find themselves working at jobs that only pay the minimum wage.” Some 41 million workers would benefit from raising the minimum.

“A single woman working full time at $7.25 per hour might manage to keep herself at or slightly above the poverty line, depending on where she lives, but she would fall below it if she had dependent children.  Many minimum wage jobs are part-time and many low wage workers work several part-time jobs in an effort to feed, clothe and house themselves and their families. Many of these workers survive only because of a tax-supported and increasingly frayed social safety net.”                       

(PAI Reporting)