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Montgomery and Prince George’s Minimum Wage Increase Officially in Effect

UFCW Local 400 and UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO pictured with leader of the minimum wage legislation, Montgomery County Council member, Marc Elrich. Photo by Karlyn Williams.

UFCW Local 400 and UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO pictured with leader of the minimum wage legislation, Montgomery County Council member, Marc Elrich. Photo by Karlyn Williams.

Montgomery County political, labor and community allies gathered Wednesday morning to celebrate the start of Montgomery County’s new minimum wage, which goes into effect that day. The group, which came together earlier this year to support the regional effort to raise the minimum wage convened at the National Labor College in Silver Spring to raise awareness about the new increases.

Last fall, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and the District of Columbia agreed to coordinate their efforts toward establishing increased minimum wage laws in a region-wide effort. Each jurisdiction adopted legislation toward meeting that goal. Montgomery County, which previously followed the State minimum wage, established a new County minimum wage law that takes a graduated approach. In its first phase, the County minimum wage will increase from the state minimum of $7.25 per hour to the new County minimum of $8.40 per hour. This increase will result in approximately $2,400 more in gross pay per individual each year based on a 40-hour work week at the minimum wage. The law applies to work performed in the County for all private sector employers with two or more employees working in the County. The individuals who are most likely to benefit from the wage increase include food service workers, housekeepers and cashiers.

 “Montgomery County workers will see an increase in the minimum wage to $11.50, to be phased in over four years, starting with an increase to $8.40 today,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett.  “I believe that a higher minimum wage for Montgomery County is justified, given the higher cost of living in the County as compared to the rest of the State. I commend all the Councilmembers who voted for this law and especially Councilmember Marc Elrich for his leadership.”

Click here to view photos from the event on our Facebook page!

Edited and modified from Union City’s Wednesday morning report.

Raising the Wage and Your Health in D.C. !

After a decade of frozen salaries, D.C. and states across the country are taking initiative, and pulling working families out of poverty by raising wages. However, the laws only benefit constituents, when the community is part of putting them into practice and when the public is educated of their rights as workers!

This morning, Local 400 joined by D.C. area allies held a press conference at Flava @ Wa-zo-bia Restaurant to celebrate the first increase in the minimum increase and the District’s paid sick days law expansion! After the press conference supporters canvassed local businesses and restaurants to inform workers, business owners and customers of the new laws!

“Today is a day to celebrate the work we accomplished together, the power that we can have together, and that is something we can all be proud of,” said Rev. Graylan Hagler, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ.

These laws will allow more D.C. residents to meet basic needs, address rising inequality in the city, and help boost the local economy. When the District’s working families earn enough money to cover the basics, it helps the whole D.C. economy. Right now, a mom or dad working full-time at a minimum wage job in the District earns $17,160 a year—which is below poverty for a family of three. Making such low wages, combined with the risk of losing wages or even their job when they’re sick, means many have to rely on public assistance to keep their families afloat. Check your pay stubs!!!!

Minimum Wage Increases:

July 1, 2014—$9.50
July 1, 2015—$10.50
July 1, 2014—$11.50
*wages will continue to rise with inflation

Paid Sick Days Access:

The new paid sick days law allows D.C. workers to earn paid leave from work when:
– you or your family members are sick or have a medical appointment
– you need to receive services related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault
*In effect now! You start earning sick leave on your first day on the job. Depending on how many people work for your employer, you can earn between 3 and 7 paid sick days.

Think you have been denied paid sick days or Proper Pay? Email: knowyourrightsdc@gmail.com

Montgomery & Prince George’s Community Groups Launch Education Campaign to Help Workers Stand Up for Legal Wages

Jacqueline, a fast food industry worker spoke out about her experience being in the industry for four years and still making minimum wage. Photo by Bill Burke.

Jacqueline Midence, a fast food industry worker, spoke out about her experience being in the industry for four years and still making minimum wage. Photo by Bill Burke.

After a decade of frozen salaries across the country, states are taking initiative, and pulling working families out of poverty by raising wages. However, the laws only benefit constituents, when the community is part of putting them into practice and when the public is educated of their rights as workers regardless of immigration status. UFCW Local 400 and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) joined together Monday morning with elected officials and community supporters at the Hillandale Safeway to kick off a week-long (June 16-20) education campaign aimed at bringing awareness to area employees on the new minimum wage laws, set to take effect Oct. 1, 2014.

“These new laws will provide a vital boost to hundreds of thousands of workers struggling with how to make ends meet,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici. “The Prince George’s and Montgomery county governments did their part to pass the laws, but it’s our job, starting today, to raise awareness to hold employers accountable and prevent wage theft in the future.”

November 2013, Prince George’s County was able to achieve a way overdue victory and set the tone, along with Montgomery County, for minimum wage increase statewide. The first increase to $8.40 per hour will be implemented by October 1, 2014 and steadily increase every year reaching $11.50 per hour by 2017. The implementation of the wage increases in these counties is higher than the state’s minimum wage, which is set to gradually increase to $10.10 by July 2018.

Prince George’s and Montgomery County Wage Implementation:
Oct. 1, 2014: $8.40
Oct. 1, 2015: $9.55
Oct. 1, 2016: $10.75
Oct. 1, 2017: $11.50
Check out our chart to see how the increases are implemented in the state of Maryland and D.C.

“Jobs should lift workers out of poverty, not trap them in poverty,” said Executive Director of LCLAA Hector E. Sanchez. “While we celebrate this important victory, we recognize that Latino workers suffer more minimum wage and overtime pay violations than any other ethnic group,” That is why we have joined this critical tour to ensure Latinos are not robbed of their hard earned wages. We want to make it clear to employees and employers that paying what the law requires is not negotiable.”

“I’ve worked my entire life, so I know how hard it is to try and make ends meet, especially off minimum wage,” said Jacqueline Midence (pictured), a four-year fast food industry worker. “When you’re supporting your family, every cent helps you survive.”
“The new law will help people like me live better, it will give us more hope for the future.”

 

The Minimum Wage Bill Signed in Maryland!

minimumwageexplainedToday, the minimum wage bill that will increase the wage to $10.10 by 2018 was signed by Governor Martin O’Malley.
“For the last eight years, expanding the middle class has been the North Star of my administration, and the bill I just signed to raise Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.10/hour moves our state forward,” said Gov. O’Malley in a statement.

Congratulations again to Raise Maryland and other communities allies that joined us in the fight to give ALL Marylanders a wage they deserve!
Want to know what this means for your wages? Check out our ‘Minimum Wage Explained’ poster to see the increment break down. You should start seeing this poster hanging up on your union bulletin board in the Maryland and DC facilities. If you do not, please email us and let us know!

House GOP Blocks Bills on Equal Pay, Minimum Wage, LGBT and Mine Safety

In a single committee meeting Wednesday, House Republicans voted against considering bills to raise the minimum wage, reform mine safety law and expand equal pay and discrimination protections. Instead, they opted to move legislation, or voted to not vote on the measures. For more information click here to go to the report by Huffington Post.
Below is UFCW International President, Joe Hansen’s statement on the Senate blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act.

WASHINGTON, D.C.Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would stiffen penalties for corporations that discriminate against women.

“The average woman still makes only 77 cents for every dollar a man does. Over the course of their working lives, this means women earn between $400,000 and $2 million less than if they received equal pay for equal work. This is not just a women’s issue–it’s a family issue. Women are now the primary or only breadwinner in 40 percent of households. When women bring home less money it makes it harder for families to afford groceries, rent, and other necessities. The UFCW has long had equal pay provisions in its contracts. But our members know that all workers deserve fair pay. Senate Republicans should stop blocking this common sense legislation.”

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Minimum Wage Victory in Maryland!

Victory in Maryland! Photo by Raise Maryland.

Victory in Maryland! Photo by Raise Maryland.

Today, the minimum wage bill that will increase the wage to $10.10 by 2018 passed the final vote in the House by 87-47 vote. Onto the Governor’s desk for his signature and enactment!
Congratulations to Raise Maryland and other communities allies that joined us in the fight to give ALL Marylanders a wage they deserve!
Check out our Minimum Wage Explained poster here! 

A Message from Raise Maryland—The Maryland General Assembly today passed legislation to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2018. The bill was passed by the House of Delegates in March 89 to 46 and cleared the Senate on April 5 by a vote of 34 to 13. Today’s final concurrence vote in the House of Delegates was 87 to 47. A top priority of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, he is expected to sign the bill quickly after session ends. This is the first time that a minimum wage bill has been passed by the Maryland General Assembly since 2006. The last time minimum wage workers received a pay raise was 2009.

Today is a victory for working people across the state. As a result of this legislation, hundreds of thousands of minimum wage workers will receive a meaningful and significant pay raise over the next several years. While we did not get everything we fought for, we should be proud of what we accomplished today.

When we launched our effort last year, we faced overwhelming odds and our bill was voted down in the conservative Senate Finance Committee 8 to 3 but we didn’t let that stop us. Instead, we redoubled our efforts, built our coalition and out-organized the opposition.

We knocked on 40,000 doors, collected 25,000 petition signatures and sent more than 8,000 personalized letters to elected officials. Together, with our partners, we organized effective actions and events demanding a raise in the minimum wage. Progressive business owners, faith leaders as well as community, civil rights, immigrant, and labor activists all spoke out and made our voice heard. We mobilized the grassroots and moved votes to make today’s vote possible. 

Take Action: RAISE THE WAGE!

IMG_3922Today the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee voted nine to three to pass minimum wage. It is being sent on to the Senate floor for a vote in the morning. We have already heard that conservative Democrats and Republicans will push to extend the $10.10 phase-in all the way back to 2019, by then $10.10 will only be worth $9.01 in today’s dollars. We are so close to the finish line but our deep pocketed opponents in big business are trying to trip us up and weaken the bill. We need to push back and let the Senate know we deserve a raise! Please call your Senator at 410-946-5400 or email him or her here to ask them to support $10.10 by 2017 with indexing. Also please change your Facebook profile picture to this image in support of Raising the Wage for all Marylanders!

TAKE ACTION: Tell Maryland Legislators to Raise the Wage!

imagesThis is a crucial week for the campaign to raise the minimum wage in Maryland. Monday, the House Economic Matters Committee gave initial approval to a bill Local 400 and our allies strongly support which would raise the minimum wage in the state of Maryland to $10.10 an hour. Even though the committee did make some changes, it would still raise the wage to $10.10 in increments between now and January 1, 2017.
This is a great first step and a big thanks to everyone who has taken action so far! But our work is not over yet! Please e-mail your State legislators that now is the time for Maryland General Assembly to raise the wage and join the 21 other states and the District of Columbia that have already set their wage above the federal rate. The House could start debating the bill TONIGHT! Click to email your elected official now!

Opponents have introduced amendments to create an unprecedented two-tier minimum wage system that would:
discriminate against rural workers by paying them less than workers in center Maryland ($8.20 versus $10.10)
strip indexing
permanently freeze the tipped wage at $3.63 an hour.
We need every Local 400 Maryland member to tell their legislators that these types of amendments are unacceptable before they start to debate the bill TONIGHT. Click to send an e-mail letter now!

Thank you for your support and leadership in raising the minimum wage for Maryland!

If you want to become more involved in the fight to raise the minimum wage please click here.

Mayor Gray: Fund the Paid Sick Days and Minimum Wage Laws

On Jan. 15, 2014, Mayor Vincent Gray and Council Chairman, Phil Mendelson backed by the DC City Council signed the bill that will raise the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour and give workers expanded access to paid sick days. Starting on July 1st, 2014, the minimum wage will go up to $9.50.

While these are some of the strongest paid sick leave and minimum wage laws in the countrynow we have to take one final step if we want workers to actually gain their new employment rights.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson sign the minimum wage bill into law.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson sign the minimum wage bill into law.

Because of DC’s unique budget rules, important parts of the new laws are on pause until the small cost of implementing them is funded. The funding will pay for new staff members to enforce the laws and for a public education campaign to be sure businesses and workers know about them. But most importantly: until funding is allocated, restaurant workers will not have the right to paid sick days, businesses will be able to make other workers work for a whole year before earning any paid sick time, restaurants won’t have to certify that they are properly paying their tipped employees, and the new retaliation protections and enforcement measures will also be on pause.

Take Action! Please let Mayor Gray and the DC Council know that we’re grateful for their support on paid sick days and the minimum wage, but that the time is now to fund the laws and make sure D.C. workers are able to access their new rights! Click here to send a letter to Mayor Gray!