D.C. Workers Win $11.50 Minimum Wage Increase
NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY
 
 $104,975
 
 256

HOT TOPICS ▶ Honduras Elections     Target: Iran     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    


  December 18, 2013

D.C. Workers Win $11.50 Minimum Wage Increase


About 90,000 workers will earn a higher minimum wage in D.C., Montgomery, and Prince George counties in Maryland
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   



audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



TRNN is giving us real understanding of the issues and a way around the corporate news spin. - heylair
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

Delvone Michael is the Director of DC Working Families, a new progressive political organization launched by a coalition of labor, community and faith leaders, who want to make the District work for all its residents, not just the wealthy and well-connected. The formation of DC Working Families was inspired by the growing success of the Working Families Party in places like New York, Connecticut and Oregon. DC Working Families recently launched it's first campaign: to put a $12.50 minimum wage on the November 2014 ballot.


transcript

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

It's official. The minimum wage in D.C. will be $11.50 an hour. That's scheduled to be in place by 2016 after Washington, D.C.'s city council increased the city minimum wage from $8.25. D.C. wasn't alone, though, in raising their minimum wage. Maryland's Montgomery and Prince George's counties also raised their minimum wage to $11.50 an hour.

Joining us now to unpack this and the fight for a living wage is Delvone Michael. Delvone is the director of D.C. Working Families, a progressive political organization that has recently announced plans to put a $12.50 minimum wage on the November ballot.

Thanks for joining us, Delvone.

DELVONE MICHAEL, DIRECTOR, D.C. WORKING FAMILIES: Thank you for having me.

DESVARIEUX: So Delvone, I know your organization Working Families Party's--has been lobbying for a $12.50 minimum wage. What's your response to the recent decision to increase it to $11.50?

MICHAEL: We think it's a step in the right direction. But doesn't go far enough. You know. If the minimum wage from 1968 had kept up with inflation and the cost of living, it'd be well over $11 in D.C. today, not five years from now. So, you know, the people in D.C. need help, and we're coming soon with our ballot initiative to provide that help.

DESVARIEUX: Do you have a rough idea of how many workers will be affected by this decision?

MICHAEL: Regionally I think in the neighborhood of maybe 90,000 or so. But I think that's important to keep in mind that that's how many people are living, basically, in poverty. They're on a treadmill, trying to keep up with the cost of living, and more and more are falling off into the ranks of the poor each day.

DESVARIEUX: According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, roughly two out of three Americans say the wage floor should be lifted, and the average wage suggested is $9.41 an hour. Can you give us a sense of the legislative terrain around raising the minimum wage going into 2014? Do you see this being a really pivotal issue? We have President Obama even talking about it.

MICHAEL: I think nationally you've had to look at--21 states have gotten tired of the gridlock in Congress and taken things into their own hand, including the District of Columbia, to go in and raise the minimum wage. It's unfortunate, but that's the way things are. I definitely think in 2014 that's going to be a huge issue going into the next elections cycle.

DESVARIEUX: Alright. And can you just speak to some anecdotes? I know you work for putting this, but I'm sure you interact with people who are living with this minimum wage. Can you just speak to some stories and of people that you know?

MICHAEL: So, you know, there are tons of people around the city that come to me all the time just saying that they basically need help. I know a single mother over in Southeast D.C. struggling to survive, working at a restaurant--named potbelly's, of course--trying to put herself through school. And it's very difficult. Sometimes she's got to decide whether she's going to actually walk to work or take public transportation, or if she's got to, you know, eat at work to defray some of the costs of buying her own groceries. So it's definitely difficult for people when it's nearly impossible for them to really survive in DC. It's one of the most expensive places in the country, yet we won't show these people that we actually value, you know, their lives.

DESVARIEUX: Do you find it difficult to organize these groups of people?

MICHAEL: Not at all, actually. I think that many folks have stepped up to--they're championing the cause. One thing we left out before with the minimum wage raise is that there is no relief for folks who are waiting tables and restaurants. They left them out completely and totally. The ballot initiative that we want to put on the ballot would definitely address those folks and bring them up with everyone else.

DESVARIEUX: But, Delvone, you have people saying that you're never going to really get the wage increases you need unless people unionize. What's your response to that?

MICHAEL: I think, well, unionizing is a very important thing. And, again, some of the low-wage people who are in the fight with us around the ballot initiative have reached down and brought more and more friends and family members to come in and to join the drive and join the race.

So it's very important to unionize and to organize. That is indeed the only way--people power is indeed the only way we're actually going to accomplish what we really need to do. $12.50 is just the floor, to be honest. So $11.50 [incompr.] and $12.50 should be the floor of what people deserve, not only in D.C. but across this country.

DESVARIEUX: Alright. Delvone Michael, thank you so much for joining us.

MICHAEL: Thank you for having me.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

Are You Watching But Not Donating?
Palestinians Stand Up to Israel, Will the World?
Can Baby Bonds Help Close Baltimore's Wealth Gap?
Judge in J20 Case Drops Inciting Riot Charge But Condemns Journalism as Conspiracy
Undoing the New Deal: Truman Embraces the Cold War (pt4)
Putin's Syria 'Victory' Won't End the Proxy War
Nina Turner on Alabama Vote & Democratic Party Unity Reform Comission
Virtually No Economist Believes the GOP Tax Bill Will Generate Much Growth
Baltimore Beat & TRNN: Why Baltimore? (2/4)
Partisan Clash over Trump-Russia Probe Gets Messier
Honduras' Flawed Vote Recount: A Cover-Up for Fraud?
Jones Wins, Bannon Loses in Alabama Special Election
Racism and Trumpism in Alabama
Cities vs. Climate Change: Can Infrastructures Handle Extreme Weather?
Baltimore Beat & TRNN: Who's Your Audience? (1/4)
Can Pennsylvania Draw the Line on Partisan Gerrymandering?
Voter Suppression and Outright Fraud Continue to Plague Alabama
Forced Privatization of The Greek Port of Piraeus, One Year Later
Venezuela's Opposition Sidelines Itself in Municipal Elections
Media or Cult? CNN Buries a Massive Russiagate Gaffe
Undoing the New Deal: Roosevelt Created A Social Safety Net, Not Socialism (pt3)
Nina Turner On Transforming the Democratic Party From the Inside
DNC's Unity Commission Further Dividing the Party
Pressure Mounts On Doug Jones To Pull Off Upset in Alabama Senate Race
Grave Concerns: Will Detective Suiter's Death Bring Commissioner Davis Down?
The Death of Detective Sean Suiter: How Deep Does the Corruption Go?
America's Most Reactionary President Visits Its Most Radical City
The Only Peace Process is Palestinian Freedom
A Chicago Alderman Introduced A Water Affordability Ordinance. Does Baltimore Need One Too?
State of Emergency Declared in Southern California

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting