Americans United For Change Announces “Give America A Raise” Bus Tour
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2014
Jeremy Funk, 202-470-5878
Lauren Weiner, 202-470-5870
With Millions of Americans Working Full Time and Struggling to Survive on $15,000 a Year,
Americans United for Change Announces Ten-State “Give America a Raise” Bus Tour
Events Will Call on Republicans in Congress to Vote for a Reasonable Minimum Wage
Washington DC – Americans agree. No one who works should live in poverty. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening to workers around the country earning the current minimum wage.While the federal minimum wage has stayed the same since 2009, the price of food, gas, utilities, and basic necessities has, with inflation, made it nearly impossible to live anywhere in America on $7.25 an hour or $15,000 a year. It’s long past time for Congress to give America a raise. And to help drive the point home, Americans United for Change is hitting the road with the “Give America a Raise” Minimum Wage Bus Tour supporting President Obama’s plan to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, and raising the political stakes for Republicans in Congress who callously oppose it. Kicking off in Maine on March 24th, the 45’ long, 16 ton anti-poverty billboard on wheels will travel to ten key states and feature local lawmakers, labor leaders, advocates and low-wage workers, and end in Washington DC at an event outside the U.S. Capitol on April 3.
Several of the tour stops will take place outside the offices of Republicans who are more interested in helping big corporations avoid paying taxes than helping hard working Americans climb out of poverty and one rung closer to the middle class. Many will feature high profile speakers including U.S. Senators, candidates in Senate and gubernatorial races, Administration officials including U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka as well as other elected officials and labor leaders to be announced later. At each stop, Republicans will be confronted with stories from low-wage workers pressing the need to raise the minimum wage.
Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: “Raising the minimum wage would provide 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. It will create jobs because it puts more money in the pockets of workers who will quickly inject it back into the economy. Millions of people with more money to spend on goods and services means businesses will need to hire more workers to meet the demand. Decade’s worth of research done after previous minimum wage increases shows nothing but net economic benefits as a result, which is why so many successful business leaders and over 600 economists including seven Nobel Laureates are calling on Congress to raise it again now.
“It’s been more than five years since these workers have gotten a raise – workers that include child care providers, janitors, and nursing assistants and who are 35 years old on average,” added Woodhouse. “It was hard enough to live on $15,000 a year in 2009, and it’s near impossible in 2014. All that stands in the way of stronger economy built from the middle out are Tea Party Republicans in Congress who only seem to care about minimum tax responsibility for huge corporations that outsource jobs. But if these Republicans don’t care to support this effective policy towards creating jobs in their states, maybe they will care about keeping their own job. Perhaps the surest job retention strategies for these Republicans would be to give their constituents a raise and pave the way for more jobs.”
Republicans who oppose raising the minimum are also against raising their own reelection prospects, judging by scoresof national polling and recent PPP polls Americans United commissioned in Illinois, Ohio,Kentucky and Georgia which found voters in these states overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage and say they would be much less likely to vote for their Senator if they stood in the way. This sentiment will be demonstrated on the tour with the progressive community united around the effort to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
A number of groups have sponsored or partnered with AUFC on the Minimum Wage Bus Tour, including AFSCME, SEIU, AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, USAction, the National Employment Law Project, Jobs with Justice and others.
“Give America a Raise” Bus Tour Route
- Bangor, ME
- Portland, ME
- Nashua, NH
- Corning, NY
- Binghamton, NY
- Reading, PA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Cleveland, OH
- Columbus, OH
- Chicago, IL
- Milwaukee, WI
- Rockford, IL
- Springfield, IL
- Louisville, KY
- Charleston, WV
- Leesburg, VA
- Washington, DC