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Raising the minimum wage

Julianne Malveaux | 4/5/2019, 6 a.m.
It is unfathomable that the federal minimum wage has not been increased in more than a decade, since 2007. It ...

Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, recently spoke about how poorly workers in the care industry are paid and how essential they are. Eighty-eight percent of these workers are women, mostly women of color, and while demand for their services is increasing, pay is not. All don’t make the minimum wage, but far too many do, and their efforts, though essential, are all too often invisible.  

Ms. Poo and her organization are working to raise the visibility of these workers, not just so we can see them, but so we can ensure they are adequately paid. Most Americans will have to interact with the care industry at some point in their life, arranging help for elderly relatives or for children. The movement toward a living wage must include these workers.

Kudos to Maryland for taking a step in the right direction. Shame on House Republicans who are enjoying economic recovery, but denying its benefits to those at the bottom. The Fight for Fifteen has momentum now. This is a great time to keep up the pressure on the states and on the federal government. Increasing the minimum wage lifts people out of poverty. Shouldn’t we all be able to support that?

The writer is an economist and author.