Target: Mary Fallin, Governor of the State of Oklahoma
Goal: Demand repeal of a law that bans minimum wage increases and stifles benefits
Low-wage employees and supporters of workers’ rights have little to celebrate in the state of Oklahoma. Governor Mary Fallin recently passed a bill that prohibits cities from raising the minimum wage or guaranteeing benefits like sick leave and vacation time. She assured the public that such guarantees “would create a hardship for small business owners, stifle job creation and increase costs for consumers,” but a wealth of research shows that this is simply not true.
State Representative Randy Grau’s has insisted that “An artificial raise in the minimum wage could derail local economies in a matter of months.” Yet according to the Congressional Budget Office raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 would help roughly 900,000 Americans climb out of poverty. Oklahoma City workers have been campaigning to raise their city’s minimum wage to reflect Obama’s proposed $10.10 an hour; some have suggested that the grassroots movement inspired Oklahoma Republicans to retaliate with the new wage-restricting legislation.
Governor Fallin has told Oklahoma residents that “most minimum wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry level jobs, and that “many are high school or college students living with their parents in middle-class families.” Yet the average minimum wage employee in America is 35, and a full quarter of them have children of their own to support. Demand that Governor Fallin repeal the wage-stifling bill.
Dear Governor Fallin,
I am confused as to why your idea of the average minimum wage worker differs so much from the American reality. More than half of all minimum wage employees work full time. Maybe you didn’t realize that half a million of them are college graduates, or that 90% are over the age of 20. Many have children or elderly parents to support–or even both.
When you ban Oklahoma cities from voting to increase the minimum wage you are hurting families, and you are doing so without creating more jobs or improving the overall economy. The notion that improving wage and benefit guarantees restricts job growth has been proven false again and again. San Francisco residents voted to raise their city’s minimum wage and saw employment increase while nearby cities continued to struggle. Don’t you want the same benefits for your state and your constituents?
I must insist that you repeal Oklahoma’s recent ban on minimum wage increases and other guaranteed worker benefits. Your responsibility is to safeguard the pubic and not the corporate interests best served by such outrageous legislation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United States Congress via Wikimedia