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"Give America a Raise" Bus Tour in Denver Today

PHOTO: The "Give America a Raise" Bus Tour makes a stop in Denver today. Photo courtesy Americans United for Change.
PHOTO: The "Give America a Raise" Bus Tour makes a stop in Denver today. Photo courtesy Americans United for Change.
April 23, 2014

DENVER - It's not a bandwagon - it's a bus onto which Coloradans are hopping to promote a higher minimum wage.

State leaders, low-wage workers and advocates are to meet at the Colorado state Capitol today for the "Give America a Raise" Bus Tour to voice support for HR 1010, federal legislation which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Grace Lopez-Ramirez, spokeswoman for SEIU Local 105, said the bill's success would represent a win for everyone, including the 416,000 Colorado workers who would directly benefit from a higher wage.

"There's research after research after research done on this," she said, "and we know that by paying workers a fair wage, a living wage, that makes all of us rise."

Colorado's minimum-wage workers now earn a little more than $16,000 a year, $3,000 less than the estimated "living wage" in the state. Supporters of the "Fair Minimum Wage Act" are calling on Colorado congressmen, including Republicans Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner, to also support it. The current state minimum wage is $8 an hour, 75 cents more than the federal minimum.

Opponents of raising the minimum wage say it would burden the economy by raising prices for basic items and fast food. It's a criticism Lopez-Ramirez said she and others aren't buying.

"That's just ridiculous," she said. "We know it would just cost a few cents per unit in order to pay workers a fair wage and really help build an economy that works for everyone, not just for the large corporations and the '1 percent.' "

The Center for American Progress has said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would reduce federal food-stamp spending by $46 billion over the next 10 years, and lift millions of people out of poverty.

The "Give American a Raise" Bus Tour is to park in front of the Capitol at noon today. More information is online at raiseto1010.com. The text of HR 1010 is online at govtrack.us.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO