With just 12 days left until the general election, now is the time to give everything you’ve got, to leave it all on the field. To help keep you motivated and focused, we’re running a quick series we’re calling “What’s At Stake Nov. 5th” highlighting a handful of reasons this election is so critically important to Virginians.
Around two million workers in Virginia are paid by the hour. Virginia’s minimum wage is set at the federal minimum–$7.25 an hour. While 29 states have a state minimum that is higher than the federal one, Virginia is not one of them. By comparison, a living wage for a single adult with no children is estimated to be over $14 an hour.
And while a fairly low percent of Virginia workers are actually paid at or below the minimum wage, increasing the minimum to $11 an hour would benefit 20% of those hourly workers. Women and people of color would be impacted even more, at 24% and 29% respectively. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 would benefit 46% of all hourly workers, 52% of female hourly workers and 50% of people of color who are paid hourly.
There are many pieces of legislation that our General Assembly might be able to pass under a Democratic majority that would help working families, but raising the minimum wage is one of the most essential. It would benefit workers who are struggling the most, who undoubtedly work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Democrats in the legislature have repeatedly sponsored bills to raise the minimum a little, raise the minimum a lot, raise the minimum gradually, raise it quickly, allow locality-adjusted minimum wages. Republicans have blocked every one of these bills.
It is beyond time we elected legislators who will fight for hard-working Virginians, to make sure they can put food on the table, pay their bills, and not work three jobs just to pay rent. This November 5th, we have the chance to do just that.
(Come back tomorrow for another example of What’s At Stake Nov. 5th.)