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Pressure Mounts for Increasing Federal, State Minimum Wage to $15

Florida's minimum wage is set at $8.46 per hour. (Pixabay)
Florida's minimum wage is set at $8.46 per hour. (Pixabay)
August 30, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The battle to raise Florida's and the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour continues.

Orlando attorney, entrepreneur, and megadonor John Morgan is backing the group Florida for a Fair Wage, which is trying to put a $15 minimum-wage proposal on the ballot for the 2020 election.

His plan starts with a $10 an hour minimum and rising a dollar every year until it reaches $15 in 2026.

According to Morgan, his proposal is designed to ease the concerns of small businesses, with a slow incremental increase. But he's still fighting against those who've long been opposed to an increase.

"Chamber of Commerce, the same parade of horribles, or deplorables or whatever we call them," says Morgan. “I can say deplorables but, yeah, the same people that want to basically pay people slave wages."

Several cities are leading the charge to increase. Democratic Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced this week that all City of Tampa employees will get a $15 per hour minimum wage starting in October. While the move will only affect about 50 employees, she said it's the right thing to do.

The minimum-wage boost has long been a concern for restaurant owners, who raise concerns about the wage for tipped employees – which is frozen at $3.02 per hour.

But Jamelia Fairley, who works as a crew lead at an Orlando McDonald's, says raising the federal minimum wage to $15 will help her be able to provide food on the table for her two-year-old daughter.

"I catch the bus for transportation to work,” says Fairley. “I do not have child care for my daughter, so it's hard for me to get back and forth for work sometimes."

The federal minimum wage has been frozen at $7.25 per hour for more than a decade. Union groups and advocates are trying to pressure the U.S. Senate to follow the House, which this year passed the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - FL