Minimum Wage No. 345
On July 4, 2007, the first increase in the federal minimum wage in 10 years will go into effect. (It was September 1, 1997 when the minimum wage went to $5.15/hour.) The current increase will raise the level of the minimum wage from $5.15/hour to $5.85 /hour. It will increase again to $6.55/hour on July 24, 2008, and to $7.25/hour on July 24, 2009.
ADA's project, the Campaign for a Fair Minimum Wage, takes some pride in this achievement. The Campaign was an early coalition effort that began in 1998 and, over the years, brought together more than 200 progressive organizations to advocate on behalf of an increase in the minimum wage in order to make it a more livable wage for America's workers and their families.
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and ex-Congressman David Bonior (D-MI) and most recently, Congressman George Miller (D-CA) were the lead sponsors of the legislation to increase the minimum wage. Although the Republicans were successful in blocking these bills during most of the last ten years, once a Democratic majority took control of the Congress after the 2006 midterm elections, an increase in the federal minimum wage was passed (as part of an Iraq war funding bill) and signed into law on May 24, 2007.
This increase is vital to offset the effect of increased inflation since 1997 and will strengthen the purchasing power of the minimum wage. In 2007, before the legislation became law, the purchasing power of the minimum wage had fallen to a 50 year low.
The Kennedy-Miller increase in the federal minimum wage will bring dignity to low-wage jobs, strengthen consumer demand and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans and their families.
ADA applauds the passage of these much-needed improvements in the national minimum wage.
ADA also urges Congress to adopt a method of indexation of the federal minimum wage to protect these wages from the erosions of inflation.
# # #
Energy, Environmental and Economic Commission