Since Washington isn't listening, the president's team and supporters are hitting the road to build grassroots support for boosting the minimum wage to $10.10.
Driven by Americans United For Change, the 10-state tour will include visits by labor leaders, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, House and Senate members, and President Obama's point man on the issue, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.
Starting in Bangor, Maine, on Monday and lasting for two weeks, the AUFC bus will stop in towns to promote the near $3 raise sought by Obama and listen to stories from locals struggling to live on the current $7.25. It will travel on the East Coast and Midwest, ending in Washington for a rally April 3.
Districts held by Republicans opposed to the increase will be special targets. “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,” said AUFC.
“At each stop, Republicans will be confronted with stories from low-wage workers pressing the need to raise the minimum wage,” they added.
Many Republicans and business leaders don’t believe raising the minimum wage will help many, and instead want the administration to loosen regulations and rules to let businesses expand and add more high-paying jobs.
Democrats, however, call that a cop-out. AUFC President Brad Woodhouse said, “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.”
His calling the tour the “Give America a Raise” minimum-wage bus tour. A number of groups have sponsored or partnered with AUFC, including AFSCME, SEIU, AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, USAction, the National Employment Law Project, Jobs with Justice and others.
The “Give America a Raise” Bus Tour Route:
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— March 24: Bangor, Maine, Portland, Maine
— March 25: Nashua, N.H.
— March 26: Corning, N.Y., Binghamton, N.Y., Reading, Pa.
— March 27: Philadelphia, Pa., Pittsburgh, Pa.
— March 28: Cleveland, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio
— March 31: Chicago, Ill., Milwaukee, Wis., Rockford, Ill.
— April 1: Springfield, Ill., Louisville, Ky.
— April 2: Charleston, W.Va.
— April 3: Leesburg, Va., Washington, D.C.