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Higher Minimum Wage: "Key Issue" into 2017

Low-wage workers in a variety of occupations across the country plan to strike today. The Granite State had a jump on this wage action. (Fight-For-15).
Low-wage workers in a variety of occupations across the country plan to strike today. The Granite State had a jump on this wage action. (Fight-For-15).
November 29, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. – Low-wage workers are planning job actions at worksites across the country to mark the fourth anniversary of the Fight for 15 movement. Nationwide more than 64 million workers are involved in the "Fight for 15."

Sarah Jane Knoy, executive director of the Granite State Organizing Project, said local protests happen on the 15th of every month, but local workers have plenty at stake in today's nationwide action. Since New Hampshire has not adopted a state minimum wage, she said too many workers are being forced to live on the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.

"Cost of living for a family of three in Manchester is about $28 an hour, is what you would need to afford; rent, child care, housing, utilities, transportation," she explained.

Opponents of raising the wage say it will result in job loss, and they argue low-skilled workers will suffer the most. At 6 A.M. Tuesday, fast-food workers in more than 320 cities plan to go out on strike.

President-elect Donald Trump has sent different signals on the minimum wage, calling for its elimination one day and supporting a ten-dollar minimum the next.

But Kendall Fells, organizing director of Fight for 15, said voters across the country are not ambivalent.

"On election day, even as Donald Trump won, all five ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage passed handily in four states and one city, showing that raising wages is always a winning issue," he said.

Knoy said don't discount New England voters who cast a ballot for President-elect Donald Trump when it comes to caring about the minimum wage.

"Well, a lot of people that voted for Mr. Trump voted for him because he said he was going to bring back good jobs, so I think that there is a real national call for an increase in the minimum wage," she added.

Since the Fight for 15 began four years ago, 22 million Americans have won raises.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH