IN Members Host Town Hall Highlighting Need for Higher Minimum Wage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 30, 2014

CONTACT: Kaitlin DeCero, Kaitlin.decero@seiuhcil.org

Hammond Town Hall Meeting Highlights Need for Higher Minimum Wage

(Hammond, IN) – On Thursday night at the Jean Shephard Center in Hammond, local low-wage workers, elected officials, faith leaders, academics, and community advocates joined together for a Town Hall Meeting about raising the minimum wage.

Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott Jr., State Representative Linda Lawson, State Senator Frank Mrvan, Hammond City Councilman Dan Spitale, and Congressman Pete Visclosky’s Chief of Staff Mark Lopez were all present and heard testimony low-wage workers, Professor Ruth Needleman, and NAACP President and Reverend Homer Cobb.

“I’ve been a home care worker for almost 4 years,” said Mary Reeves, a Hammond home care worker. “I make over the minimum wage and I still live paycheck to paycheck. No one who gets up and goes to work every day should be trapped in poverty.”

Low-wage workers spoke out about the day-to-day struggles they face earning $7.25 an hour, attempting to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families. There are an estimated 687,000 Hoosiers living on the minimum wage, and more than 7 out of 10 minimum wage earners are women. A minimum wage worker who is paid for 40 hours/week only earns $14,500 a year, leaving them well below the federal poverty line.

The national conversation around raising the minimum wage continues to spark debate as we head into midterm elections, and local workers made the case directly to lawmakers at Thursday’s Town Hall Meeting.

“The minimum wage has remained stagnant as cost of living skyrockets,” explained NAACP President and Associate Minister at Victory in Jesus Church Homer Cobb. “While we are fighting for a higher minimum wage, the ultimate goal should be a sustainable, living wage for working families.”

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SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas unites more than 92,000 healthcare, home care, nursing home and child care workers across four states in the fight to raise standards across industries, to strengthen the political voice for working families and for access to quality, affordable care for all families.

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