Thanks Cory, always happy to help.
MEDIA ADVISORY: FEBRUARY 14, 2006
Contacts: George Neckel, Utah Jobs with Justice. (801) 606-2074
Corey Hilton, Organizer, IBEW Local 354. (801) 319-3144
Dan Belnap, Utahns Against Hunger. (801) 328-2561
UTAH’S WORKING POOR NEED INCREASED MINIMUM WAGE
Low income workers to testify on economic hardship
Salt Lake City, UT. Tuesday, February 14, 2006. Low-wage Utah workers will present testimony before a Workers Rights Board on February 17 on the need for an increase in the State’s minimum wage. The workers will describe their efforts to support their families on less than $7.00 an hour. Utah’s current minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, the same as the federal minimum, which has not been increased in more than eight years. This provides an annual income of only $10,700 for a full-time worker.
Among those testifying will be a receptionist for the United States Forest Service, a fast-food worker struggling to provide for her three children and an oil company worker supporting a developmentally disabled son with substantial medical bills. In addition, the Board will hear expert testimony from economist Dr. Sarah Wilhelm, of Voices for Utah Children.
The testimony will be heard by a panel drawn from the Workers Rights Board of Utah Jobs with Justice. The panel includes Cathy Hoskins, Executive Director of Salt Lake Community Action Program; Salt Lake County Council member Joe Hatch; Glen Bailey, Executive Director of Crossroads Urban Center; and Dee Rowland, Director of the Peace and Justice Commission of the Catholic Diocese. Robert “Archie” Archuleta, Chair of Utah Coalition of La Raza and former Administrator of Minority Affairs under Mayor Rocky Anderson, will moderate the panel.
The hearing is part of the Citizens’ Day at the Legislature, organized by Utah Issues. Legislation introduced by Sen. Ed Mayne would increase Utah’s minimum wage to $7.00 an hour. A full-time worker would need to earn $7.74 an hour to meet the federal poverty line for a family of three.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 19,000 Utahns are working at or below minimum wage. The real value of the minimum wage is near its lowest point in 50 years. If the minimum wage in 2005 was worth what it was in 1968, it would be $8.88 an hour. And if it had gone up at the same rate as average CEO pay in the 1990s, the minimum wage would today be almost $45 an hour.
Nationwide, fourteen states have raised their state minimum wage above the federal minimum, ranging up to $7.65 an hour in Washington. The city of Santa Fe, New Mexico has set minimum wage at $9.80 an hour.
Utah Jobs with Justice is a coalition of 18 labor, community and faith organizations working for economic justice. The Workers Rights Board is a project of Utah Jobs with Justice that unites community, religious and business leaders to enhance and ensure the democratic rights of all workers.
The hearing, which is open to the public, will be held Friday, February 17th from 1:30 – 3:00 pm at the Radisson Hotel Downtown, 215 South Temple, Parleys Rooms 1 and 2.
– 30 –
PO Box 3151
Salt Lake City, UT 84110
801.606.2074 fax 801.328.2564