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Albuquerque, New Mexico, voters will have the chance to vote to raise the city's minimum wage on Tuesday, taking it from $7.50 to $8.50 in 2013, tying the minimum wage to inflation, and giving tipped workers a raise to 45 percent of the regular minimum wage in 2013 and 60 percent in 2014. It should go without saying that all the usual discredited arguments are being hauled out again trying to convince voters that this would be terrible, terrible, terrible.

City Council President Trudy Jones, for instance, throws several arguments up against the wall to see what sticks: raising the minimum wage would hurt small business! And the city budget, because it would cost more to hire lifeguards! (Wait, Albuquerque only pays its lifeguards minimum wage? Doesn't it seem like you'd want the person tasked with pulling you out of the water if you start to drown to be making a little more?) Also, she says, it would hurt teenagers, who are "the very group that the minimum wage was designed to help."

Oh, the teenager argument. Proponents of poverty wages love that one so much. It's supposed to make us think that people earning minimum wage are just doing it so they can buy pizza and movie tickets and designers jeans, luxuries that their parents won't cover. But in reality, a solid majority of minimum-wage workers are adults, just as a majority of minimum-wage workers and the people making just above minimum wage who would likely get a raise as an indirect effect of a minimum wage increase work full-time. These people need that extra dollar an hour to pay for rent and food, and in Albuquerque, they haven't seen a raise since 2009:

A gallon of milk that cost $2.69 in 2009 is now $3.50. According to a recent study by New Mexico Voices for Children, 40,000 workers—fully one-seventh of the city’s workforce—would benefit from the increase. Nearly one-sixth of Albuquerque’s population lives in poverty.
But what about small business? What about jobs? Wouldn't jobs be lost if the lowest-paid workers got a dollar raise? Well, no. Take this study of New England, where each state has a different minimum wage, and where states with higher minimum wages actually did better at keeping jobs during the recession and regaining them after it. That's just one of a number of studies showing that raising the minimum wage doesn't cause job loss, in fact. Instead, the extra money in the paychecks of the workers who are most likely to spend it, because they need it just to get by, provides economic stimulus. Small businesses get their share of that when their customers have more to spend.

Proponents of rock-bottom wages are always coming up with the same arguments that say that a minimum wage you can live on is something to fear. It's no different in Albuquerque, and it's as wrong there as it always is.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

Hurricane Recovery

  • Something to remember: Recovering from a disaster affects workers in so many ways. There are the public and utility workers struggling to get things back to normal. These workers, especially the public employees, are so often demonized as overpaid or not deserving the small pensions they've earned. Yet they'll be working unimaginable hours in difficult conditions, while many have flooded homes or don't have power themselves. Other people, too, are being called in to work despite the damage done to their homes and their lives.
  • The company that owns Madison Square Garden has an awfully generous offer to its workers in the aftermath of the storm: If they can't get to work, it comes out of their vacation days. Wait, that's not generous at all when we're talking about a city where commutes have doubled or quadrupled with huge chunks of the subway system not working, and where many neighborhoods are still without power or water.
  • The Teamsters and IBEW report on some of their members' hurricane response efforts, and the AFL-CIO rounds up more stories of how union workers are helping the recovery, with an excellent slideshow.

A fair day's wage

  • With black lung making a comeback, the Mine Safety and Health Administration is targeting coal dust in inspections. Inspections are good, but tougher limits on coal dust are needed. There's no such thing as a fair day's wage for a fair day's work if workers are being exposed to needless hazards.
  • Six out of 10 parents say their kid got sick and couldn't go to their usual child care or school in the past year, half of parents with kids in child care said it's difficult to find alternative care, and a third said they might lose pay or even their jobs if they take time off to take care of a sick kid. Yet another reason workers need, and deserve, paid sick days.
  • American Airlines pilots picketed at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport their quest for a fair contract.
  • But we're told that strengthening safety regulations for teen workers would be just terrible:
    Silos teeming with corn, wheat or soybeans become death traps when grain cascades out of control, asphyxiating or crushing their victims. Since 2007, 80 farmworkers have died in silo accidents; 14 of them were teenage boys.

    The deaths are horrific and virtually all preventable.

  • National Labor Relations Board Chair Mark Pearce: New Penalties Needed for Union-Busting of Undocumented Workers.
  • Commentators, most of whom are upper middle class, tend to think part-time work and "flexible" scheduling are good for workers. The reality is that they're part of the big squeeze:
    The widening use of part-timers has been a bane to many workers, pushing many into poverty and forcing some onto food stamps and Medicaid. And with work schedules that change week to week, workers can find it hard to arrange child care, attend college or hold a second job, according to interviews with more than 40 part-time workers.

The War on Education

State and local legislation


  • I know that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is famously persistent, but I'm not sure that a guy who was recently trying to basically break his city's teachers union is who I'd send out to ask unions for money if I was in charge of Priorities USA, the Obama Super PAC.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Maybe we should try a new tactic with (13+ / 0-)

    minimum wage and start calling them "living wages" or even "basic human decency wages". Of course they'd need to be higher than minimum wage but it'd be a lot hard to vote against basic human decency (well, I'd like to think so, but I could be wrong).

    Every time Romney and Republicans mention Benghazi it proves they are the sort of opportunists that would mine for gold in a graveyard.

    by ontheleftcoast on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:05:07 AM PDT

    •  The living wage (13+ / 0-)

      is something people do talk about, and some cities have passed in one form or another (IIRC sometimes they actually full-on pass it for everyone, other times they say something like if you want a contract with the city you have to pay a living wage). The legal minimum wage is usually well below a living wage -- even in most places where the minimum wage is well above the federal one.

      •  Up here in Santa Fe NM is a model living wage law. (13+ / 0-)
        hat is the Living Wage
        The term Living Wage refers to the minimum hourly wage necessary for a person to achieve some specific standard of living.

        Santa Fe's Living Wage
        The City of Santa Fe Living Wage Ordinance was adopted to establish minimum hourly wage rates.

        Effective March 1, 2012 all employers are required to pay employees an hourly wage of $10.29.  This includes part-time and temporary employees.

        The March 1, 2012 Living Wage increase is in accordance with City Ordinance and corresponds to the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Western Region for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.  All employers required to have a business license or registration from the City must pay at least the adjusted 2012 Living Wage to employees for all hours worked within the Santa Fe city limits.

        Who is affected?

        It is so impressive, needs to be adopted nationwide imo.

        Thanks for reporting on the efforts in Alburquerque to help workers.


        Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

        by divineorder on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:31:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  One more great piece (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, BlackSheep1, RebeccaG, 1BQ

    I just now read, by the fabulous Sarah Jaffe on Occupy's afterlife in New York's dark zones after Sandy.

  •  Ridiculous. And sad! (9+ / 0-)

    In Santa Fe the minimum wage, passed by City Ordinance, workers get $10 (plus?) an hour, which is the highest minimum wage in the nation.  And this has helped employers to keep their employees without constant turnover, it's helped our economy in this city and it has helped our State.

    But hey!  All those transplants that have moved into Albuquerque, all those big corporations that moved in to Albuquerque, they are right-wingers.  Just one more reason we got Susie Martinez (R) as our Gov.

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:24:44 AM PDT

    •  I've Been Minimum in Albq. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KayCeSF, BYw, lgmcp

      Heck I used to make $4 an hour and it was quite abusive (not just the wage but the treatment).  Meanwhile, was going to grad econ school only to have my nutter Chicago-based professor have us prove why raising the minimum forces job losses.  
      I'm a lot better off now, but those poverty stats are a harsh reminder of what our low wage economy (for non-professionals) here has wrought.

      And thanks for pointing out the success of the Santa Fe (my ancestral town) living wage ... actually unemployment there is not as bad from my understanding.  Reality is an antidote to the falsities that neoclassical economists keep pushing.

      "And once again, the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." --Maxwell Smart

      by emobile on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 12:55:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Berkeley, California may te higher. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you don't want to be kept in the dark and lathered with horse dung, stop acting like a mushroom.

      by nomorerepukes on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 12:59:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know... I read that Santa Fe, NM (0+ / 0-)

        had the highest minimum wage in some article, not long ago.  I can't remember where, but it was not a local article.  ?

        I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

        by KayCeSF on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 01:23:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is it more expensive to live in Santa Fe than (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KayCeSF, lgmcp


          •  Depends. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Real estate is a mixed bag here, depending on where you want to live, I guess.  But that's true even in Alb.

            Not sure how to answer that.  I have friends in Alb. now who moved to Alb. or Rio Rancho because of jobs, but they have never said anything about living expenses being different.  

            I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

            by KayCeSF on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 05:24:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  yes. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Everything is a bit more expensive there, because they have to drag it all up to 7000+ feet to get it there to sell.

            Santa Fe's  primary Industry,  other than State Government (huge) is the care and succor of the Wealthy who grace us with their presence in their endless search for authenticity and meaning.  Yeah, Art is also a big Industry, but I see it as subsidiary to the above premise.

            It's not actually a bad way to create jobs for local people; low environmental impact, other than golf courses.   But to keep it going at that level of amenability,  there's got to be enough dough going around to keep the Servitors and Commoners happy.

            don't always believe what you think

            by claude on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 06:54:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Cost of living there cited as (0+ / 0-)

            18% higher than the national average, whereas Albuquerque is just % above the national average.

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 07:29:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  yup. Santa Fe is a well-milked cash-cow (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KayCeSF, lgmcp

      for the surrounding ex-urban and rural areas,  many of whose residents depend on its prosperity,  myself included at times over the past 41 years.

      don't always believe what you think

      by claude on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 06:39:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cloud Cliff Bakery blues (0+ / 0-)

      The defunct Cloud Cliff Bakery would certainly debate this with you.  As you will recall, it was the funky, trendy, Progressive hangout for cool young Santa Feans, sporting anti-nuke murals and employing the absolutely hippest slackers, er... wonderful employees.  Mayor Coss rode the Living Wage/Death Knell to re-election and beyond.  Maybe the wage hike was a boon to the dreads and hemp bedecked employees or not.  It certainly was a path of no resistance link to two years of paid unemployment, courtesy of the local State Government monstrosity.  However, learning you have no real worth as an employable human may be a definite bummer, unless you join Occupy Santa Fe and blame your lack of productivity on the evil rich guy that laid you off.  Except he was the Champion of the Left and even Ralph Nader kissed his ring.  

  •  slavery (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, RUNDOWN

    slavery seems to be the next big step for repubs.   that's the direction they are going.  no health care for anyone, no soc. security, no safety from pollution of water and air, no education for anyone, etc., etc.  CERTAINLY no JOBS!!!  just more money for the rich.

  •  Wages are a business expense (5+ / 0-)

    It's a cost of doing business and is deductible for income tax purposes.  So are employee benefits.   So raising the minimum wage will actually lower taxes on small businesses.  
    Keeping wages low is nothing more than a power grab by business owners.  

  •  This quote from Will Rogers ..... (8+ / 0-)

    ... says it all about how money does not trickle-down, it trickles up:

    Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.”

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:45:54 AM PDT

  •  NM LOBOS radio station 770KKOB airing anti min (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, RebeccaG, emobile, RUNDOWN

    wage guests lately. maybe paid callers too.

    raises in minimum wages or anything that will help the 99% is on the local blowhard list of "things to stop, things to lie about" on every RW radio station in the country. and that has been working for may years, in many states.

    sad if their work, with lobos stickers all over that giant soapbox, succeeds.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:48:14 AM PDT

    •  Lobos fans revolt ! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      certainot, lgmcp

      I'm more and more sick of KKOB each day.  Used to be an awesome top 40 and news station, now it's all vile wingnut crap.  I tried listening to Limbaugh to see who's still advertising on it locally but couldn't take it.  So I take it out on the Lobos ... no football this year and maybe one or two hoops games at most.  

      "And once again, the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." --Maxwell Smart

      by emobile on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 12:47:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  one thing about KKOB - the locals take real calls (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        weinerschnauzer, claude

        and sometimes it's possible with a few sentences to interject some perspective and doubt into their usual fact-free zones.

        that's a great 'bang for the buck' value- when you can reach thousands of  listeners with a one liner

        like,  recently- "hey Bob, the reason there are so many undecided voters is that a lot of republicans can't decide which Romney they're going to be voting for- the mormon bishop or the christian family values guy. the pro FEMA or anti FEMA romney. the pro-choice or the pro-illegal abortion romney. the ....  etc.,

        "and the reason so many voters are voting early  is to get a better paper trail so karl rove's hackers can't steal their votes....

        and so on

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 01:55:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Isn't it a ClearChannel station now? (0+ / 0-)

          I think they basically all are, except the two public radio stations on FM.

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 07:31:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  i don't know if this is the proper place but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dburn, claude

    if you're a musician in need of high end pick-ups or pre-amps my employer FREAKIN' ROCKS!!!  

    I'm mentioning it because it seems like business owners who treat their employees well should be supported.  

    that and his wife rescues cats, none of which are adoptable for medical reasons. i think we have 15 running around and its totally cool for employees to (judiciously & in moderation) spend work time loving on 'em.

    think of the kitties.

    to republicans rape is "God's will" but homosexuality is somehow a "choice". republican yahweh is a dick.

    by bnasley on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 12:18:38 PM PDT

  •  Deficit Wages (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As we enter a period of hidden inflation ( CPI Ex-energy, & Food), it gets harder and harder to make the math work on $1000 a month take home , especially if one has kids, pets or both.  Depending on age, record, and locale (On the Bad side of the town, Auto and Property insurance rates are double that on the good side of town)

    Just keeping a car licensed  and insured for a year may cost 1-2 Month's wages. That's before Gas and Maintenance.

    Add in some form of Day-care, clothes and all the rest of the vitally important cash expenses your expected to make to appear at work at the right time and be productive while generally making everyone around you feel like your a "likeable" person, and that $1000 take home may cost $300-400 a month, making the effective take home less than what someone would get on welfare, especially since any kind of Health Care policy is unaffordable which also makes any kind of illness unaffordable. If any other emergencies happen with the car, with kids etc then two wage earners per household won't be near enough to cover it.

    Minimum wage jobs or any job where gross pay is over $9900 a year (or $13,000) makes one choose between life saving health care  or a crappy job with no benefits .

    That's why Math Challenged Conservatives want Medicaid and Medicare abolished. That takes the choice away of staying on welfare or working at crappy jobs miles from home.

    They don't have an answer to people lying dead in the street because their simple little minds just can't make that leap. The 45,000 (low ball Estimate) people who die each year from lack of insurance doesn't seem to get in the way of such thinking. It's the dumb person's pre-battlefield mentality ; it's always gonna happen to someone else until they actually go into battle and see how random life and death are.

    The answer to this minimum wage debate and many related debates, is simple: All the deciders and their eager staff, must all purchase private insurance , have wages that are on the median wage of all of Washington DC.  No extra benefits in terms of pension, other insurance, cafeterias, internet or any of the other comforts that they all take for granted and lets not be partisan about it.

    I think that would go a long way towards getting rid of professional politicians who feel their only allegiance is to the corporate hacks who give them the most money. Make it so they are on the same cost and wage curves that the the population they govern are. It would also be be beneficial to have  periodic wage freezes, lay-offs for no particular reason, and a push to outsource the staff jobs to India where the staff can train their replacements and the congress critters can learn to act informed on their own.

    Make lobbyists wear ankle bracelets along with all of those in congress  and I think we may have a small shot at seeing some positive policy changes come out of the Spaceship DC. Lets give them the same  cosmic shitstorm that many Americans have to deal with every day. Even those that are better off but still have uncertainty to deal with like is SS going to be there, Medicare , my Job etc. should be part and parcel of the decision making process in congress.

  •  U.S. be warned - High minimum wages have ruined (0+ / 0-)

    Canada (not). Lowest rate $9.75 in Alberta. Highest rate $11 in Nunavut Territory (highest provinces Ontario, B.C. Manitoba at $10.30) CAD currently at par with USD so no exchange rate justification.

    To my view, low minimum wage is another example of steal from the poor to give to the rich. In the case of Walmart, this is 100% obvious - lower salary cost means more profits for the Waltons. More broadly, the 1% are legislating wages below their economic worth - why else are working poor having to seek out donated food? - to benefit big business and small business.

    BTW, $10 an hour - $20,000/year does not lead to an extravagant lifestyle. StatsCan median family income in 2010 was $69,860.

  •  i moved to albuquerque in 1990 from california (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dburn, lgmcp

    i was waiting tables back then, and in calif. i made minimum wage plus tips...when i moved to albuquerque, i was shocked to find that i was making $2.13 an hour! my rent was quite a bit less, but i still found it primitive and demeaning, especially since i was working for the same corporation (general mills) at one of the busiest restaurants in the entire chain

    Colorado has a much higher GDP than Utah because it is culturally superior

    by memofromturner on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 01:54:38 PM PDT

  •  Raising the minimum wage (the tide) also raises (0+ / 0-)

    the ships (CEO bonuses). Oh wait, never mind, the ships have a hot air balloon attachment to them allowing them to rise without the tide...

  •  Check out my gangnam style election guide (0+ / 0-)
  •  San Jose, CA also has a raise-the-minimum-wage (0+ / 0-)

    ballot initiative for November 6th.

  •  And Santa Fe's leadership on living wage (0+ / 0-)

    .. has NOT hurt their economy.

    "We think it has made a big difference for low-income people and for the value of work in Santa Fe," Santa Fe Mayor David Coss told Reuters. "I think it should and could be repeated around the country."

    Coss said the city maintains the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5 percent and that the ordinance has not hurt businesses.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 07:35:27 PM PDT

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