Income inequality will be one of the main themes of the presidential election, and come November Colorado voters will have the chance to help working families build stable, healthy lives.
On Feb. 18, Colorado Families for a Fair Wage, a coalition of labor groups and working-family advocates, filed paperwork for a ballot initiative to raise the state minimum wage to $12. WCC is a proud member of the campaign steering committee and will be the dominant campaign presence on the Western Slope.
“I’m pleased that Western Colorado Congress will be actively supporting this initiative,” says Mesa County member Kathryn Christian, who plans to be involved in the campaign.
“Research indicates that raising the minimum wage not only helps low-wage earners, but also lifts all boats by keeping more money circulating in the local economy. I can think of no better place than Mesa County for this to take hold, and I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and making this a reality!”
Last fall, WCC members passed a resolution in support of a living wage for all workers, and our community groups voted to invest money and staff time in the campaign.
“Low pay is a statewide problem and we’re excited to be working with WCC to make sure Western Slope families have a voice in our fight for fair wages,” notes a campaign spokesperson.
Minimum wage in Colorado is currently pegged at $8.31 per hour. That equates to an annual full-time income of $17,285 – below the federal poverty level of $20,090 for a family of three. Raising the minimum to $12 an hour restores it to roughly what it was in the 1960s, adjusted for inflation.
If the initiative passes, the minimum wage for Colorado workers will increase to $9.30 in 2017 and then 90 cents each year until it reaches $12 in 2020. After that, the amount would be indexed to inflation.
There’s much work to do before voters can pass the initiative, starting with getting it on the ballot. We plan to start circulating petitions in April, and we’re going to need lots of people to help! To get involved, contact Matt King at 970-640-4061.