On Aug. 28, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. and The March for Jobs and Freedom. According to an article published by the Economic Policy Institute, “To Work With Dignity: The Unfinished March Toward a Decent Minimum Wage,” the federal minimum wage in September 1963 was $1.25. Adjusted for inflation it would be $8.37 today.
At the March for Jobs and Freedom, they were asking for $2 and, adjusted for inflation, that would be $13.39 today. Research has shown that increases in the minimum wage do not result in reduced employment. It has also shown that higher wages reduce turnover, increase spending by consumers, boost the economy and reduce poverty/economic inequality.
On Aug. 29, fast-food employees from cities across the nation walked off the job over the need for a living wage. In Seattle, the strike lines included Subway, Burger King, Jimmy John’s, Wendy’s, Arby’s and Papa John’s. Even the great state of Texas was not immune to these strikes.
On Sept. 2, we celebrated Labor Day, and we need to ask the question: If a living wage was the hope of our parents and grandparents, shouldn’t we fulfill that dream?