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By Chris Opfer
Aug. 28 — The Democratic National Committee Aug. 28 voted unanimously to approve a resolution in support of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The resolution, approved during the DNC's annual summer meeting in Minneapolis, urges Congress to pass legislation increasing the minimum wage from its current $7.25 per hour level and also raising the separate $2.13 tipped minimum wage. It further calls on lawmakers to pass a measure intended to make it easier for workers to sue for pay discrimination and to take steps to “ensure pregnant workers fairness.”
The resolution comes as two minimum wage bills are pending but are unlikely to move in the Republican-controlled Congress. The bills have raised questions about just how high Democrats believe the wage floor should be hiked.
The Raise the Wage Act (H.R. 2150, S. 1150), backed by 172 Democrats in the House and 33 in the Senate, would increase the minimum wage to $12 by 2020. It's sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) and Rep. Bobby C. Scott (Va.), the ranking Democrats on the congressional labor committees.
A separate measure (H.R. 3164, S. 1832), introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), would increase the pay floor to $15 per hour. The legislation has 38 sponsors in the House and four in the Senate.
Both bills would phase out the tipped minimum wage, which has been frozen since 1993. The legislation would also provide for future increases based on changes in median pay.
Sanders is an independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats and is seeking the party's nomination for president. He told the DNC shortly before the resolution was approved that, if elected, he would also push to guarantee paid sick leave for workers and establish “a massive federal jobs program to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.”
For more information, see Compensation and Benefits Library’s Fair Labor Standards Act: General Principles chapter.
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