Last week, on March 31, members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, local elected officials, labor and faith leaders, and other low-wage workers in Chicago as part of the “Give America A Raise” bus tour. The bus tour, launched by Americans United for Change, is an 11-state tour to urge Republicans in Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. Rose Campbell, a Walmart employee and OUR Walmart leader, spoke at a rally in Chicago about Walmart worker’s struggle to make ends meet while earning a Walmart poverty wage.
“Americans agree that no one who works should live in poverty, yet the reality is that workers around the country earning minimum wage are living below the poverty line,” said Rose Campbell. “It’s long past time for Congress to give America a raise.”
Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has remained the same but the price of price of food, gas, utilities, and basic necessities have dramatically increase due to economic inflation, making it nearly impossible to get by anywhere in America on $7.25 an hour or $15,000 a year.
A recent Public Policy Polling survey found that 63% of Illinois voters support raising the minimum wage to $10 – while only 33% are opposed – and by 11 point spread that they’re less likely to vote for Senator Mark Kirk again if he opposes it.
“The Tea Party-approved voting records of Senator Kirk and Illinois’ Republican Congressmen show that they’re more interested in voting for minimum tax responsibility for millionaires and huge corporations that outsource jobs than helping hard working Illinois workers climb out of poverty and one rung closer to the middle class, said Brad Woodhouse, President of Americans United for Change. “Their priority should be providing a needed boost not just for the millions of struggling low-wage American workers that can barely survive on $7.25, but for the U.S. economy as a whole.”
A new report out from Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that raising the minimum wage would increase wages for 1,127,000 workers in Illinois by more than $1.3 billion if the minimum wage is raised to $10.10, and it would generate more than $860 million of economic activity in the state.
The bus tour’s Illinois stops included Chicago, Belvidere, and Springfield.