Earth Notes
9:40 pm
Tue August 1, 2006

AZ minimum wage increase still on ballot

Phoenix, AZ – The U-S House already has approved hiking the federal
minimum wage by $2.10 an hour over the next three
years, to $7.25. That's actually higher than the
proposal expected to be on the Arizona ballot this
November which would set the state minimum wage at
$6.75. But Beth Shulman, an author and former vice
president of the United Food and Commercial Workers
union, said that doesn't mean the labor groups pushing
the initiative here should shelve their effort.

(State action is absolutely essential. One, the state
provisions have indexing which allows it to go up with
inflation, where the federal one doesn't.)

That would tie future minimum wage hikes to inflation.
Jim McLaughlin, president of the state UFCW,
acknowledged that most people do not work at jobs where
their salaries automatically increase as costs go up.
But he said those earning the minimum wage are most
affected by inflation.

(Back when the minimum wage was increased in 1997, fuel
was at $1.30 a gallon. Today it's at $3 a gallon. That
pinch is felt more by minimum wage workers than it is
by you who don't have a minimum wage job.)

Shulman also noted that congressional action is far
from a sure thing. The Senate has yet to vote on the
measure which is linked to lowering the estate tax and
renewing certain tax breaks. In Phoenix, for Arizona
Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.