Labor Reform Movement: July 19, 2012

AFL-CIO Abandons Fight for Minimum Wage Law;
Low-Wage Workers Lost Income for 4 Decades
30 Million Workers Would Benefit from Proposed Minimum Pay Law

By Harry Kelber

If some 30 million low-wage workers had received their minimum wage checks adjusted to inflation over the past 40 years,, they would be getting $10 an hour, instead of the $7.25 an hour under federal law.

This gross injustice against poorly-paid workers of the past forty years is being rectified in a proposed bill introduced by Illinois Democratic Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., titled “The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012.”

The longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, says: ”The U.S.’s federal minimum wage is lower than all Western countries.” In blunt language, Nader states: “This is basically an issue that reflects the craven, cruel nature of the Republican Party on Capitol Hill, but it also reflects the caution, the cowardliness, the betrayal of the Democratic Party of its core constituency.”

President Obama should not renege on his promise in 2008 to press for a minimum wage of $9.50 by 2011.

Why Is the AFL-CIO Silent on Raising Minimum Wage?

For many months, the issue of the federal minimum wage has not appeared for discussion on the AFL-CIO NOW web site or in statements by any of its top leaders. Why have they tolerated a gross financial injustice to its poorly-paid members and unorganized workers? Why not link the minimum wage with the rate of inflation, so we wouldn’t have to wait seven or eight years to upgrade the wages of hard-pressed low-wage earners?

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AFL-CIO unions, except for less than a handful, like the National Nurses Union (NNU), are doing virtually nothing to fight on issues like healthcare, pensions, education. Their leaders are destroying the AFL-CIO’s bargaining power to the point where they are routinely ignored in Washington by Congress and the White House.

Of the more than 10 million AFL-CIO members, there must be a lively contingent with the guts to fight back. To those stalwart unionists, we’re inviting them to join the American Labor Reformers (ALR). Those who join will be able to participate in how we plan to build a bigger and stronger labor movement.

Send us your acceptance of membership by writing to American Labor Reformers at