Policy Matters research supports need for higher minimum wage
- December 4, 2014
For immediate release Contact: Amy Hanauer, 216.361.9801
Workers call attention to low wages in protests across the country
A higher minimum helps families and the economy
Fast-food workers and other low-wage workers are expected to strike and protest today in cities across the country, demanding a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Policy Matters Ohio’s research finds that a higher wage is good for families and helps power the economy. The non-partisan policy research institute has also found that Ohio’s largest job categories pay so little that many workers and their families are eligible for and need public assistance.
“Raising the minimum wage would boost the economy, reduce poverty, and support work,” said Amy Hanauer, Executive Director of Policy Matters. “It’s a smart way to grow the economy from the bottom up.”
Today in Cleveland, home health aides and other home care workers are also expected to take part in a noon rally at E. 30th Street and Euclid Avenue, as part of the national strike.
Home health aides are among the 12 largest job categories in Ohio. They earn a median wage of $8.39 an hour, and like most other low-wage workers, they cannot make ends meet.
Ohio voters raised the minimum wage through a ballot initiative in 2006, a policy that helps more than 300,000 workers each year. The state minimum wage will go to $8.10 in January, but states and cities around the country have raised their minimum wages far above this level. Just this week, Chicago became the 11th city to increase the minimum wage this year when the Chicago city council approved a $13 minimum wage.
Policy Matters’ most recent brief on the minimum wage in 2013 recommended that Ohio boost it to $10.10 an hour. Such an increase would give a raise to nearly 1 million Ohioans and circulate $2.1 billion in the state economy. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation since the high point in 1968, it would be $10.59 an hour today. If it had kept up with productivity it would be even higher, almost $18.75.
“It’s exciting to see workers in cities and states across the country joining the movement for a higher minimum wage,” Hanauer said. “Cleveland and Ohio working families could benefit substantially if Ohio raised its minimum wage as communities all over the country are doing.”
Policy Matters Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan state policy research institute
with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.