BFMW In the News

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Minimum wage hike kicks in, re-igniting debate

By Michael E. Kanell
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 24, 2009

Extra 70 cents will put squeeze on employers at wrong time, some critics say

The much-debated increase in the minimum wage takes effect today, putting a bit more money in the pockets of low-paid workers but adding to employers’ costs at a time when many are struggling.

In the last of three annual boosts mandated by Congress in 2007, the minimum for most workers today rises 70 cents to $7.25 an hour. The increases were the first since 1997.

McClatchy Tribune: Op-Ed by Holly Sklar, Minimum wage stuck in the 1950s

By Holly Sklar
Distributed by McClatchy Tribune News Service, 7/23/09
Copyright 2009 Holly Sklar

Are you better off than you were 40 years ago? Not if you're a minimum wage worker.

It would take $9.92 today to match the buying power of the minimum wage at its peak in 1968, the year Martin Luther King died fighting for living wages for sanitation workers.

In today's dollars, the 1968 hourly minimum wage adds up to $20,634 a year working full time. The new federal minimum wage of $7.25 comes to just $15,080. That's $ 5,554 in lost wages.

Daily Markets: Business owners welcome minimum wage increase

BUSINESS FOR A FAIR MINIMUM WAGE (July 21, 2009, Boston, MA) — Business owners across the nation are welcoming the July 24 increase in the federal minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour. National business leaders and small business owners in states where workers are getting a raise say the increase will boost consumer buying power and promote economic recovery.

Patriot News (PA): Federal minimum wage rises from $6.55 to $7.25

By Sharon Smith
Patriot News (PA), July 24, 2009

Few midstate workers make minimum wage, but if you are among the few who do, you get a bump in pay today.

The federally mandated minimum wage rises to $7.25 today, up from $6.55 per hour.

The Keystone State's minimum wage rose to $7.15 in 2007, so the move is likely to have a small effect on workers living in the Capital region.

Still, some say the higher minimum wage could help the local and national economies.

Daily Gazette (NY): Minimum wage going up by a dime in New York state

By Ameerah Cetawayo
Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY), July 24, 2009

CAPITAL REGION — In New York state, 250,000 workers will get a small boost in their paycheck beginning today, as the minimum wage increases from $7.15 to $7.25 an hour, according to the state Department of Labor.

Most New York employers pay more than minimum wage already, according to DOL spokeswoman Jean Genovese.

Augusta Free Press: New minimum wage good for business

By Chris Graham
Augusta Free Press (VA), July 24, 2009

The local Chamber of Commerce will tell you that the increase in the federal minimum wage that goes into effect today will spell doom for business and industry. Another perspective is that putting more wages in the pockets of working-class families will boost consumer buying power and push the economic recovery that is slowly taking shape into action.

Tennessean: Minimum wage jumps 70 cents

Economists say timing is bad

By Bonna Johnson
The Tennessean, July 24, 2009

In a time of rising joblessness across most of Tennessee, an increase in the federal minimum wage today could further send more people into unemployment and even prolong the recession, according to some small-business owners and economists.

Times (IN): Indiana, Illinois hike minimum wage

By Bowdeya Tweh and Keith Benman
The Times (Munster, Indiana), Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News, July 24, 2009

Indiana's minimum wage is set to increase 70 cents per hour today, as the federal standard for what employers can pay their workers also increases.

The minimum wage, which rises to $7.25 from $6.55 per hour in Indiana, is part of the third installment of three scheduled annual increases agreed on in 2007. The first increase on July 24, 2007, hiked the federal minimum wage 70 cents to $5.85 per hour, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Think Progress: Fox News Fearmongers About Minimum Wage Increase

By Pat Garofalo
Think Progress, The Wonk Room

Today, Fox News ran a segment on today’s minimum wage increase — which raises the minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour — accompanied by a chyron stating “How The Hike Will Hurt.”

While not as egregious as Fox News, most media outlets today are presenting the minimum wage hike in a he said/she said manner, with workers happy to see an increase pitted against claims that the increase will result in lost jobs and higher unemployment.

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Minimum-wage increase is coming at the worst possible time

By David Nicklaus
St. Louis Post Disptach, July 24, 2009

About 4.5 million American workers will see fatter paychecks starting today, but their good fortune is bad news for the rest of the economy.

With unemployment at 9.5 percent nationally, this is the worst possible time to be raising the minimum wage. A higher minimum wage may force struggling businesses to lay off workers or cut back their hours. It certainly makes them less likely to hire young, unskilled workers, who have been hit hard by this recession.

New York Times: Why Some Employers Support a Minimum Wage Increase

By Catherine Rampell
New York Times, Economix, July 23, 2009

Introductory economics generally teaches that the goal of all companies is to maximize their individual profits, all other greater social, moral and economic consequences be damned. But clearly the events of the last year have caused many people to question Econ 101 — including the idea that businesses shouldn’t care about anything besides the near-term bottom line.

Free Lance Star (VA) State economist doubts impact will be large

By Chelyen Davis
Free Lance Star (VA), July 23, 2009

Tomorrow, several million American workers will get a pay raise.

That's the day the federal minimum wage goes up to $7.25 an hour, from $6.55 per hour.

It's the final bump in a three-year phased-in increase for some of the nation's lowest-paid workers.

But this one comes during the worst economic recession in years. Unemployment nationally was at 9.5 percent for June, and the country has lost more than 3 million jobs in 2009 alone.

McClatchy Newspapers: Minimum wage increase is a double-edged sword

By Diane Stafford
Kansas City Star, July 23, 2009. Also Sacramento Bee, New Jersey Record, Sun Journal (ME), more.

The federal minimum wage rises today from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour, bringing with it controversy about whether the increase is good or bad for the economy.

The raise, which will affect about 4 million workers nationally, is the third and final increase mandated by Congress in 2007.

For a full-time minimum wage earner, the bump means $28 a week more.