Raising the Minimum Wage

May 2, 2014: Seattle’s Mayor has announced the City will phase in a new minimum wage of $15 an hour, the highest in the nation. As the battle over the minimum wage heats up, will the Teamsters Union mobilize and help lead the fight?

Seattle announced today that it will phase in a new minimum wage of $15 an hour. Businesses with more than 500 workers must meet that level within three years. That includes the UPS hub.

Businesses with fewer than 500 workers must raise pay to that amount over the next seven years.

After that, increases will be linked to the cost of living.

The labor movement, including the Teamsters, has backed the movement to raise the minimum wage in cities, states, and at the federal level. But in our union’s biggest contract at our most profitable employer, UPS, starting pay is frozen at just $10 an hour until July 31, 2018.

By then, the minimum wage in a number of states will be higher than starting pay under our biggest Teamster contract. Hawaii and Maryland have voted to phase in hikes to the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, along with a number of cities and counties elsewhere.

In the next couple of years, thousands of UPS part-timers, especially at urban hubs, will probably make significantly more than our contract rate, simply by getting the minimum wage.

Nationally, the President and the majority of the U.S. Senate are backing a hike in the minimum wage to $10.10 too.  That bill is currently being blocked by a minority block of opponents in the Senate. But similar efforts are being taken up in other cities and States, with many aiming higher than $10.10.

The new contract was a missed opportunity for our Union to take on part-time poverty at UPS. But it’s not too late for our Union to put Teamster power behind the fight to win wage increases for millions of low-income workers.

The Hoffa administration needs to move from saying the right thing about the minimum wage, to mobilizing Teamster members to win.

The fight to raise the minimum wage and win living wages is every Teamster’s fight. 


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