Union Leaders, Occupiers Want Minimum Wage Increase in Fiscal Cliff Deal

Union leaders and those in the Occupy movement are demanding a minimum wage increase be included in the fiscal cliff deal being negotiated in Washington, D.C. 

According to NYU Local, "labor advocates and some economists insist that a permanent fix must include higher wages," and because labor unions were instrumental in helping Obama win reelection, they may pressure the president to increase the minimum wage. 

After he got first elected, "President Obama proposed a gradual increase of the federal minimum wage, to $9.50 an hour by 2011," that never materialized, but his promise still is on his 2008 transitional website.

Labor Unions became more aggressive on Black Friday, attempting to organize workers at Walmart. Those efforts were not successful since "formally organized strikes have yet to be seen." However, NYU Local notes organized labor and the Occupy movement may just be getting started to grow a movement to start a "larger national conversation about the way tens of millions of American workers are compensated."

Labor leaders cite that the "federal poverty level for a family of four is $22,000," and an average employee at Walmart who works full time makes less than $16,000. 

The federal minimum wage is $7.25, which means many Americans working 40-hour weeks will fall below the poverty level. However, raising the minimum wage may force businesses—especially small businesses—to actually lay off workers.


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