COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s Democratic senator was joined by a Columbus restaurant owner and one of his servers in a pitch for a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage above $10 an hour.
Senator Sherrod Brown was joined by Mark Dempsey, owner of Dempsey’s Restaurant, and Heather Ross, a server at the restaurant in Columbus Thursday to call for passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which Brown has co-sponsored, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25 and provide the first minimum wage increase to tipped employees in more than 20 years.
“Working full-time in a minimum wage job in Ohio pays about $16,000 per year— which isn’t much to live on when you’re trying to put food on the table, fill your gas tank, send your children to school, and provide a safe place for them to live. Ensuring a fair wage is good for middle class families and good for our economy,” Brown said.
According to Brown’s office, the bill would boost the annual income of a worker earning the minimum wage to $21,000, lifting them above the poverty line for a family of three.
Dempsey said paying his employees more than the minimum wage has been good for business and he called on other restaurant owners to follow suit.
According to the National Employment Law Project, a pro-labor policy group, if the minimum wage had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, it would be worth approximately $10.55 per hour today, Brown said.
The Fair Minimum Wage Act would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25 in three steps of 95 cents, provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living, and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers — currently $2.13 an hour — to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.
Brown estimates, if the bill becomes law more than 30 million workers would get a raise.