Editor's Note: After Bluestem Prairie read media critic David Brauer's tweet suggesting that someone start a Minnesota State Senate Whip Count based on constituent content, we published MN Senate minimum wage constituent-based Whip Count: where does your district's Senator stand?, followed by the MN Senate minimum wage constituent Whip Count.
Our friend, SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo-Alicea picked up the cause, posting Minimum Rage: State Your Position, Senators and Minimum Rage: Is the Senate's Line in the Sand Fading?.
His latest follows below--and we're grateful for SEIU and the Raise the Wage coalition for picking up on the project that Brauer's tweet launched.
Guest Post by Javier Morillo-Alicea
Crossposted from Thug In Pastels
The Minimum Wage Conference Committee will meet this evening. Below there is a list of ways you can help keep up the pressure to pass a $9.50 minimum wage, INDEXED to inflation. But first, a talking point update.
Did the Senate Move? Yes, It Did. But…
We’re hearing that Senators feel like they haven’t been given adequate credit for moving from their original position of $7.75 to the House’s offer of $9.50 an hour.
Here is what is not to say when you call your State Senator, true as it may be
Seriously? Let’s set aside for a second the fact that the bill the Senate passed last year was embarrassing even then. The $7.75 was barely better than the some Republicans’ position of simply conforming to the federal minimum wage. What has happened between then and now?
For one, Governor Dayton has talked about the $9.50 as a floor. “I’d settlefor $9.50,” he has said. Oh, and nationally, the President of the United States made the minimum wage a centerpiece of his State of the Union address, praising Minnesota company Punch Pizza for raising its entry wage to $10 an hour. And then he signed an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay a $10.10 hourly minimum wage, an idea put forward by Minnesota’s own progressive champion Congressman Keith Ellison.
Did the Senate move? Well, yes, if we define “move” as catching up to the rest of the nation and state.
Now that you’ve got that out of your system…
Here is what you should when calling your Senator:
“Thank you for moving to the house’s $9.50. Now let’s find a compromise that includes indexing the minimum wage to inflation and get this done!”
STATE OF PLAY
The issue holding up a bargain remains the question of indexing the minimum wage to inflation so that (a) the working poor do not see the value of their dollar decrease year after year and (b) we do not have to keep revisiting this political battle.
There has been some movement over in the Senate, with one Senator previously thought to be a hard no on indexing, Melisa Franzen, stating in a public forum that she is open to the idea. That is a far cry from the line in the sand leadership had drawn, and that is a good sign. We hear there are several other Senators who feel the same way — that indexing is but one part of the final package and they are open to it as part of the solution that gets a deal done.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
From 1 to 5pm TODAY (Monday), in advance of this evening’s conference committee, SEIU, TakeAction, ISAIAH, NOC and others will be running a phonebank to reach voters and patch through their calls to Senators. If you can spare a couple hours this afternoon, email Kevin Hippert at firstname.lastname@example.org for details about the phonebank.
But you don’t have to go there to call your Senator. It is especially important that conference committee members hear from their own constituents. Call them and politely ask them to support you, their constituent, and not the official leadership position. The conferees are important enough to getting this done that even if you do not live in those districts you can stand to give them a call.
MUCH MORE TO COME!
If the conference committee does not finish its work tonight, there is a lot more fun to come. DFL Senate DistrictConventions are coming up, and groups like TakeAction, the AFL-CIO & SEIU and other organizations that do political work are planning to be at those in full force. Visit the Raise the Wage (the broad coalition of faith, labor, and community groups) page for information on upcoming phonebanks across the state, and if you are a member of an organization supporting the campaign, call them to volunteer. I know ISAIAH, TakeAction, and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, SEIU and the state AFL-CIO have a lot of activity planned, but I know there are a lot more organizations kicking it up as well.
Photo: Senator Majority Leader Tom Bakk