Governor Gina M. Raimondo, Senator Erin Lynch Prata, Secretary-Treasurer of RI AFL-CIO Maureen Martin and Secretary-Treasurer of United Food and Commercial Local Domenic Pontarelli today held a roundtable discussion about the Governor's proposal to raise the minimum wage from $9.60 to $10.50 per hour. They were joined by local union workers, all of whom have previously worked at minimum wage.
"Rhode Island workers deserve a raise. No one working full time should live in poverty--a fair minimum wage should serve as a ticket to the middle class for every hardworking Rhode Islander," said Governor Raimondo.
This is the third consecutive year that the Governor has proposed a minimum-wage increase in her budget submission. After successfully enacting an increase in 2015, last year's proposed hike was not included in the budget passed by the General Assembly. Despite last year's setback, Governor Raimondo is deeply committed to ensuring that Rhode Island workers get a raise in 2017.
"Raising the minimum wage isn't about buying a second house--it's about being able to make ends meet and put money back into our local economy," said Senator Lynch Prata.
Despite making up less than half of the US workforce, 6 out of ten low-wage workers are women. "The minimum wage is absolutely a gender-equity issue," said Martin. "I want to thank Governor Raimondo for her relentless efforts to ensure that all low-wage workers, particularly women, are able to make a decent living."
Raising the minimum wage often means a raise for other workers as well. "Increasing the minimum wage is often the only chance long-term workers have to negotiate a raise. The minimum wage sets the standard," said Pontarelli.
If passed, approximately 93,000 Rhode Islanders would be affected. Ensuring that hardworking Rhode Islanders have the opportunity to join the middle class is one of Governor Raimondo's top priorities. Along with the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship, this proposal would provide that opportunity. ###