WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) – a lifelong IBEW union member, electrician by trade, member of the House Education and Workforce Committee and original co-sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act of 2017 – reacted to the newly-released study showing Seattle’s $15 an hour minimum wage law has boosted pay for restaurant workers without costing jobs.
“This study proves raising the minimum wage is a smart, sensible policy that lifts people up without cutting jobs down,” said Norcross. “No hard working American should live in poverty. If you are working hard, you deserve a fair day’s pay. We hear apocalyptic-type scenarios about job loss that just aren’t true. And this isn’t just a Seattle fluke or some outlier – in the early 1990s, a case study in my home in South Jersey showed similar job-related results.
“Our areas, states, regions and country are ready for the wage to be raised at the federal level. I encourage anyone who is opposed to raising the minimum wage to try living on $7.25 an hour. Let’s stop waiting and start working together to give working families a fair shot.”
The University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment released the study on Tuesday that focuses on the Seattle food services industry. The study analyzes county and city-level data from 2009 to 2016.
The Raise the Wage Act
Norcross is an original sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act of 2017, which would incrementally raise the wage to $15 an hour by 2024. In addition to raising the wage, the Act will also gradually eliminate loopholes that allow millions of workers to be paid substantially less than the federal minimum wage.
Representing the American Worker
An International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) member and electrician by trade, Norcross has a long history of fighting for workers. He fought day in and day out to ensure South Jersey workers had good-paying jobs as a business agent for IBEW Local 351 and as president of the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO. In the New Jersey state legislature, he was part of the successful fight to raise the minimum wage in New Jersey.
By the Numbers
A person working full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour earns $15,080 in a year, which is well below the federal poverty level (for almost all households). A federal minimum wage increase to $15 in 2024 would raise wages for the parents of 19 million children across the United States (which equates to 24% of American children). In total, raising the minimum to $15 in 2024 would directly or indirectly lift wages for 41.5 million workers (which equates to 29% percent of the wage-earning workforce).
Net productivity rose over 73% in the past 42 years, while the hourly pay of typical workers increased only 11%. Hard-working Americans are more productive, but they are not the ones benefitting from the fruits of their labors. The people benefiting, especially in recent years, are those at the top of the food chain. CEOs of large corporations were paid 30 times more than the average worker 30 years ago and they are now making nearly 350 times more than the average American worker.
Contact: Ally Kehoe, Communications Director