By Eva McBride Iowa, along with 21 other states is stuck at a minimum wage of exactly the Federal minimum wage of $7.25. Not only that but any municipality or locality in the state of Iowa who wanted to raise the wage in their area to reflect the actual cost of living can no longer do so due to the recent enaction of HF295 also known as the Minimum Wage Bill. Here is a summary.
HOUSE FILE 295 – City and County Regulatory Authority— Consumer Consumer Consumer Merchandise Merchandise Merchandise— Wage and Employment Employment Employment
Terms and Conditions Conditions Conditions
BY COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT. This Act prohibits a county or city from adopting, enforcing, or
otherwise administering an ordinance providing for any terms or conditions of employment that exceed or conflict
with the requirements of federal or state law relating to a minimum or living wage rate, any form of employment
leave, hiring practices, employment benefits, scheduling practices, or other terms or conditions of employment.
The Act prohibits a county or city from adopting an ordinance that sets standards or requirements regarding the sale
or marketing of consumer merchandise that are different from, or in addition to, any requirement established by state law.
An ordinance adopted prior to March 30, 2017, that violates the Act’s prohibitions is void and unenforceable on and after March 30, 2017.
The Act took effect March 30, 2017
$7.25 an hour is already a disgracefully low amount for a family to try to survive on and has clearly not kept up with the cost of living. You can work 40 hours a week at minimum wage and still only gross $15,080 a year. Who does this benefit because it certainly doesn’t benefit the working families of Iowa? If you can work 40 hours a week and still be near the poverty level something is very wrong. Businesses who don’t pay their employees a living wage force a lot of families to apply for various kinds of assistance to survive. That means Iowa and Federal taxpayers are subsidizing businesses who have pushed for the wage to stay low. We have also had an attack on collective bargaining rights in Iowa and that is bad for everyone because even non-Union Iowans benefit in higher average wages when we have strong Unions. This is basically an attack on working families from legislators who are supposed to be representing citizens, not businesses. Here are stats for Iowa from the National Low Income Housing Coalition website. You can also find statistics specifically for your county by using the drop down menu lower down. The graphics above came from this source.
I was unable to attend The Working Families Summit on June 10th but if I had been free I would have been there because I know that the issues they were addressing are issues that can help all Iowans They discussed issues like Raising Wages, Protecting Civil Rights and Making Work Family Friendly. I watched the panel discussion on YouTube and this a link to get there. I did talk to two people who attended to get their input. I spoke to Chris Laursen, President of UAW Local 74, earlier this week. He commented that he was impressed with the amount of resources available at the Working Families Summit and the networking opportunities with other labor groups from around the state. Laursen said the highlight of the summit for him was meeting up with and listening to one of his mentors, Larry Cohen, give the keynote address. Larry is the former president of the CWA and the current chair of Our Revolution. I also spoke to Jonathan Neiderbach, current Iowa gubernatorial candidate and he had this to say, “It was inspiring to hear from fellow Iowans who had stood up, organized, and spoken truth to power.”
In the meantime, we need to be actively fighting for a living wage in Iowa. Iowa families deserve to be able to do more than just barely survive. If this is important to you then make this an issue you look at when choosing legislative and gubernatorial candidates and see where they stand. I encourage you to attend the following event. The Asian & Latino Coalition is sponsoring a Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Thursday, June 22, 2017, from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at
the UAW Local 450, located at 4589 NW 6th Dr., Des Moines. Look for more information about this event: http://iowalabornews.com/?p=17957
Here is a link to information about the 2018 Working Families Summit:
Keep yourself apprised of upcoming labor related news and events at: