Monday July 30, 2012 KMUD Local News
Eureka Fair Wage Act interview at 10:00 minutes
Monday July 30, 2012 KMUD Local News
Eureka Fair Wage Act interview at 10:00 minutes
Verbena’s statement on the filing of the Eureka Fair Wage Act.
Eureka Fair Wage Initiative on Facebook
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 26, 2012
TWELVE DOLLARS AN HOUR MINIMUM WAGE
Fair Wage Initiative Filed in Eureka California
Humboldt Co, CA: The Eureka Fair Wage Act, requiring large employers to pay a minimum of 12 dollars per hour, was filed and fees paid with the Eureka City Clerk’s office on Wednesday, July 25th.
Eureka residents active with Occupy Eureka, Veterans for Peace, Richardson Grove Action Now, PEOPLE PROJECT, and Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community, filed the Eureka Fair Wage Act due to prolonged wage stagnation, poverty levels highest in the state (1), and the recent invasion by Walmart, a company characterized by theFair Wage Act proponents as “the most abusive and criminal retail outfit in the world.”
This has been a powerful week for working class people, Tuesday July 24th being a National Day of Action to raise the federal minimum wage followed by the Eureka Fair Wage Act being filed in northern California. Proponents anticipate false claims from large companies and politicians about how awful the raise in the minimum wage will be for working people, but extensive research shows that a weak minimum wage increases poverty and shatters families. According to the National EmploymentLaw Project (NELP), no minimum wage worker, at 40 hours a week, can afford a two bedroom rental at Fair Market Price. “Higher wages improve lives and boost the local economy,” says Eureka resident and Fair Wage proponent Bill Holmes.
The proponents took input from groups including the Humboldt/Del Norte Central Labor Council and the National Employment Law Project, and inspiration from similar efforts, successful around the state and country. Small businesses, employing less than 25 people, are exempt from the Eureka Fair Wage Act, and there will be a phase in time of 18 months for larger non-profits so they can adjust their grant funding.
Kimberly Starr, a volunteer with Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community and signatory to the initiative spoke to television cameras before the filing. “We know that this filing is a step toward uniting working class people in this area to stand up for ourselves, to insist on our DIGNITY, to build strong forces, to oppose predatory corporations like Walmart, and refuse to labor for the purpose of filling the CEO’s or the boss’s pockets and bank accounts, while we get next tonothing.”
JamesDecker, local activist and member of Occupy Eureka, U.S Air Force veteran and home healthcare worker declared after signing the initiative: “With the Fair Wage Act we are taking action to stop the flow of dollars … to Wall Street and the investment bankers, keeping these dollars here in the local community. We have targeted larger employers that have the ability to pay a fair wage. We are going to force the ‘Walmarts of the world’ to be good neighbors or go back to Arkansas.”
*Websitefor the Initiative: http://eurekafairwageact.wordpress.com
*Textof the proposed initiative, Eureka Fair Wage Act: https://www.box.com/s/3ad802141c0c0260f300
*Videoof the statements made at the filing can be found here:
*Photosfrom the filing available on request.
1 Humboldt County’s poverty level at 19.2% is seven points higher than the statewide average which is 12.4%, ranking Humboldt County as 56th poorest of 58 CA counties. While wages and employment are down, corporate profits are thriving.
Defending Our Community:
Two out of three low wage workers are employed by large corporations with more than 100 employees:
Contact: Kimberly Starr (707) 442-7465, email@example.com
EUREKA RESIDENTS WILL BE FILING EUREKA FAIR WAGE ACT
You are invited to the Filing of the Eureka Fair Wage Act on Wed, July 25th:
Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition
“…Walmart and other large retail outlets have a negative impact on wages and benefits for working people in the communities where they open stores. To remedy that negative impact, large employers in Eureka shall be required to pay a minimum wage of twelve dollars ($12) per hour.”
Community members who have been active with Occupy Eureka, Veterans for Peace, Richardson Grove Action Now, PEOPLE PROJECT, and Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community will be filing the Eureka Fair Wage Act on Wednesday, July 25th, one day after the National Day of Action to raise the federal minimum wage!
The Eureka Fair Wage Act is a ballot initiative that will likely be put to vote in March 2013.
The Act will require people working in Eureka to be paid a minimum wage of $12 an hour. Small business are exempt if they employ less than 25 people, and there will be a phase in time of 18 months for larger non-profits so they can adjust their grant funding.
INVITE to the FILING: Please come to the first event of the Eureka Fair Wage Act, the first of many that we hope will be significant moments building toward the experience of some economic justice!!
Eureka City Hall, City Clerk 531 K Street in Eureka, 2nd floor
After the filing, the Clerk of Eureka will have about two weeks to do what she has to do with the Petition, then we start getting signatures!!
California workers to rally for minimum wage increase
By Bernice Yeung
California workers in Inglewood and Sacramento will join labor advocates across the country at rallies today to support forthcoming legislation by U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., that would increase the federal minimum wage by $2.55 per hour.
Under Miller’s proposal, the minimum wage would jump from $7.25 to $9.80 per hour over three years, and wages would then subsequently be adjusted for inflation each year. The federal minimum wage last was raised in 2007 from $5.15 per hour.
Come July 24, Union Square will become a sea of banners and chanting protesters demanding economic justice.
“Workers have to fight for our rights, for paid sick days, a raise of the minimum wage not only at the state level but also at the federal one, the right to organize at the workplace,” said Javier Valdés, of Make the Road New York.
To do exactly that — to forcefully ask for economic solutions that work for all, not just the rich — thousands of New Yorkers from many different backgrounds are expected to gather in Union Square for what has been billed as a National Day of Action.
How much the federal minimum wage would be if it had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years. Instead, it’s $7.25. Learn More
The annual income for a full-time employee working the entire year at the federal minimum wage.
The number of states where a minimum wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment working a 40-hour week. Learn More
The number of times Congress passed legislation to increase the minimum wage in the last 30 years.
The number of states (including the District of Columbia) which have raised their minimum wage above the federal level of $7.25.
The number of states that annually increase their state minimum to keep up with the rising cost of living.
The percentage of Americans that support gradually raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to at least $10.00 an hour, according to an October 2010 poll.
64 in 100 vs. 4 in 100
What are the chances an adult minimum wage worker is a woman vs. the chances a Fortune 500 CEO is a woman? Learn More
The percentage of Missouri voters that voted to increase and index the Misourri minimum wage in the 2006 ballot initiative.
The federal minimum wage for tipped employees, such as waiters and waitresses, nail salon workers, or parking attendants.
What Is Wrong With This Picture?
Tell Congress: The 99% Need a Raise
Raising the minimum wage is an important step toward an economy that works for everyone, not just the richest 1%. That’s why both current elected officials and those who are pursuing elected office need to stand with us in raising the federal minimum wage.
Putting more money into the pockets of ordinary Americans is a no-brainer. If we reduced income inequality, we’d boost our economy. Small businesses would grow and hire, and we’d put the 99% back to work.
People who work for a living should be able to live off of their wages. The federal minimum wage needs to be adequate enough for working people to live on—and indexed to inflation so it doesn’t fall in value every year.
WALMART AND THE MINIMUM WAGE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. WalMart will just pass this cost along to us, won’t they? Won’t they just raise their prices?
A. No, this is a myth. A study last year showed that even if Walmart applied a $12 an hour minimum wage to all of its hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide, and passed along 100% of the cost to its customers, that the price rise would be insignificant.
Q. If a $12.00 an hour minimum wage is so good for the economy, why don’t we just make it $50.00 an hour?
A. First of all, we are not asking for $50.00 an hour, your question is a red herring. Secondly, what we say, and what the research has proved, is that a modest rise in the minimum wage produces a modest gain in the local economy, regardless of the minimum wage in surrounding regions.
Q. Won’t Walmart just lay off a few employees to pay for this? People will lose their jobs.
A. No. Walmart prides itself on being a lean, low-cost operation. They are already running at minimum staff levels. They are already understaffing, underpaying and overworking their employees.
Q. Won’t this just drive the larger employers out of Eureka?
A. No. Eureka is the economic, political and population center of Humboldt County and the surrounding region. Thousands of workers commute into Eureka every working day. But if this unlikely effect starts to occur we will work to extend this minimum wage protection to all the workers of Humboldt County.
Q. How would this benefit local small businesses?
A. Local businesses with 25 employees or fewer will be exempt from this ordinance. On the other hand a significant portion of their customers will have a few thousand dollars more to spend locally every year.
Q. Isn’t this just more welfare?
A. No. The benefits of a higher minimum wage go to people who are workers, obviously.
Q. How do higher, fairer wages benefit the local community?
A. Higher wages paid to local workers circulate locally and grow the local economy. It is money that is not airlifted to Bentonville, Arkansas (and sucked out of our local economy forever) or spent on a multi-million dollar CEO salary somewhere else.
Q. How much cash would flow to the local economy under this ordinance?
A. If there are 1,000 local employees covered under this ordinance, then we estimate there will be at least $2.5 million annually pumped into the local economy through higher, fairer wages, and the multiplier effect will amplify the gain.
Q. Wouldn’t $12.00 an hour be the highest minimum wage in the United States?
A. Yes, but the Eureka Fair Wage Act will only apply to large businesses with the resources to support it. Minimum wage laws in other localities apply generally to all employers large and small or only to employers with government contracts. We think our approach makes more sense both socially and economically and more closely fits our common local Humboldt ethos.
Q. Don’t minimum wage laws result in higher unemployment? Employers will fire employees to cover the cost of paying higher wages, won’t they? Isn’t that an ironclad law of economics?
A. No. Human history is clear that periods of high employment coincide with periods of high wages. This was true 500 years ago, 1,000 years ago, and 2,000 years ago, as far back as civilization began. In the United States, workers real wages as a percentage of GDP are at a 70 year low, while real unemployment and corporate profits are at 70 year highs. The fact that there are millions of people seeking work and there are not enough jobs for them is a fault in the predatory capitalist economy that is unrelated to wages.
Defending the Community
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