Sen. Brown And Guest To Tonight's State Of The Union Call For Fair Minimum Wage Act Which Would Give 1.3 Million Ohioans A Raise

Nearly 1.3 Million Ohio Workers Would Benefit from Bill, Which Would Raise Minimum Wage to $10.10 an Hour in Three Steps and Provide First Raise for Tipped Workers in 20 Years

(Sen. Brown and State of the Union Guest Elizabeth Dandridge)

(Sen. Brown and State of the Union Guest Elizabeth Dandridge)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As his guest to tonight’s State of the Union address, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will be joined by Elizabeth Dandridge, a teacher’s assistant at Cincinnati Union Bethel’s Head Start Program. Brown and Dandridge highlighted the nearly 1.3 million Ohioans who would receive a pay raise if the minimum wage was increased to $10.10 an hour as Brown has proposed. The base wage for workers in Dandridge’s position is $8.67 an hour. While Dandridge makes more due to additional credentialing, she still struggles to make ends meet and has been involved in organizing efforts for a fair minimum wage. In tonight’s address, President Obama will announce an executive order to raise the minimum to $10.10 for all individuals working on new federal contracts. Brown is a cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in more than 20 years and would result in a raise for millions of Ohio workers.

“Ohioans who work hard and play by the rules should be able to take care of their families. But too many are working harder than ever – and barely getting by,” said Brown. “Working full-time in a minimum wage job in Ohio pays about $16,000 per year – which isn’t much to live on when you’re trying to put food on the table, fill your gas tank, send your children to school, and provide a safe place for them to live. Ensuring a fair wage is good for middle class families and good for our economy.”

"I am honored to join Senator Sherrod Brown for the State of the Union to call on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. We are blessed to have champions of working people like Senator Brown fighting for us in Washington," Dandridge said.

Brown is the cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage. It would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25—in three steps of 95 cents—then provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living. The bill would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers—which currently stands at just $2.13 an hour—for the first time in more than 20 years, to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

Workers who are paid a minimum wage in Ohio earn only $16,000 per year, which is more than $3,000 below the poverty level for a family of three. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would boost the minimum wage to $21,000, lifting families above the poverty line. According to the National Employment Law Project, the minimum wage has lost more than 30 percent over the last forty years. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be worth approximately $10.55 per hour today. Increasing the minimum wage would boost GDP by nearly $33 billion and generate 140,000 new jobs over the course of three years as workers spend their raises in their local businesses and communities.

For new research on the impact of the Fair Minimum Wage Act on Ohio, see HERE.

Over the past year, Brown has also met with several Ohio businesses that support an increase in the federal minimum wage, including the Yankee Kitchen, a diner in Youngstown; Grounds for Thought, a coffeehouse and bookstore in Bowling Green; Dempsey’s, a restaurant in Columbus; Brothers Printing, a print shop in Cleveland; and Synergistic Systems, a computer consulting company also in the Cleveland area.