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NAACP Supports an Increase in the Minimum Wage

WHEREAS, in the last four years, the cost of housing has gone up 44 percent, college tuition is up 35 percent, and the cost of health insurance is up 59 percent; and

WHEREAS, it is a struggle for any family, but for minimum wage workers, it's nearly impossible; and

WHEREAS, a minimum wage employee who works full-time, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, earns only $10,700 a year – not enough to keep a single parent with children above the poverty line; and

WHEREAS, a minimum wage worker who works full time, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year earns only $10,700 a year – more than $6,000 below the poverty level for a family of three; and

WHEREAS, in the early 2000's, fewer than one in five minimum wage workers were under the age of 20; and

WHEREAS, during that same time half of minimum wage earners were between the ages of 25 and 54; and

WHEREAS, in 2002, minimum wage workers earned an average of 68 percent of their total family income; and

WHEREAS, millions of minimum wage workers work hard, play by the rules, and barely scrape by; and

WHEREAS, minimum wage workers are forced to make impossible choices every day — between paying rent and buying groceries, between paying the heating bill and buying clothes or going to the doctor; and

WHEREAS, over the past ten years Members of Congress have raised their own pay by $31,000, but the minimum wage has not gone up even one cent over the same time period; and

WHEREAS, an increase of $2.10 over two years, in three increments of .70 cents each, will add $4,400 to the income of full-time, year-round workers; and

WHEREAS, $4,400 per year is enough for a low-income family of three to buy a year of groceries, or a year and a half of heat and electricity, or more than nine months of rent, or the full two-year tuition for a community college degree; and

WHEREAS, raising the minimum wage will enable millions of hard-working Americans to afford a decent home and a better quality of life; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP maintains the consistent position that all Americans should benefit from the dignity afforded by a living wage; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirm its commitment to a living wage and call on the U.S. Congress and the President to pass legislation to establish a federal living wage, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports increasing the minimum wage with an initial increase of $1.85 and an increase of $1.00 an hour per year every year until the U.S. minimum reaches the level of a federal living wage, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP urges the federal government to then tie any additional increase to the federal cost of living index