By Doug Cunningham
California workers being paid the minimum wage are getting a raise today – from $7.50 an hour to $8 an hour. About one and a half million workers in California are affected. The minimum wage increase bill was sponsored by the California Labor Federation in 2006. The labor federation says that while this increase is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t deal with the bigger problem – that inflation is outstripping the minimum wage. In California, a worker needs more than $13 an hour just to meet basic living expenses according to the California Budget Project. Labor wants to see the minimum wage indexed to inflation.
By Doug Cunningham
At the dawn of a new, highly-politically charged year organized labor is poised to be a bigger player than ever before at the ballot box. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says labor’s political clout is stronger than ever.
[Sweeney]: “You can rest assured that we will have more people involved in the campaign at the grassroots level than we have ever had. One out of every four voters was a union member or from a union household. And we will be undertaking that kind of campaign, stronger than ever, with more resources than we’ve ever put into a campaign. And I anticipate that, with a little help from God, we will be successful.”
From a new Congress taking the reins on Capitol Hill in January to the AFL-CIO’s first-ever global organizing conference in December, working families have seen significant victories, unfortunate setbacks and a lot of unfinished business this year. We take a look back at 2007 in a series of posts, continuing today with a quick glance at the top items from July through September. Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2.
* Tens of thousands of public employees in New Hampshire, Oregon and Massachusetts won a voice at work with unions in 2007. The victories came after union members in 2006 elected pro-working family candidates to governors’ offices and state legislatures, where lawmakers passed majority sign-up legislation. Under majority sign-up—which is a key part of the Employee Free Choice Act—workers form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.