Target: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin
Goal: Reverse a law that bans cities from passing higher wages and enacting paid sick days and vacation requirements
Oklahoma’s governor, Mary Fallin, recently signed a bill into law that bans cities from raising minimum wages and enacting paid sick days and vacation requirements. Her decision was a blow to an Oklahoma City labor union that has pushed to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The state’s current minimum is set at the federal level of $7.25 per hour and in 2012, 64,000 workers living there earned that amount or less. Urge Gov. Fallin to reconsider her decision and demand that she take measures to ensure all Oklahoma residents have the opportunity to work for a living wage.
According to Gov. Fallin, she signed the bill out of a concern that higher minimum wages would raise prices for consumers and force businesses to other states. She asserts that the majority of minimum wage workers are young, single people employed at part-time or entry level positions. She also argued that increasing the minimum wage would hurt job creation because it would force businesses to fire those part-time workers.
Gov. Fallin’s line of reasoning does not fall in line with the realities of the typical American minimum wage worker. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released found that nearly ninety percent of workers who would be impacted by an increase in the wage are over twenty years old, while the average is thirty-five. More than twenty-five percent have a child to support and more than half work full time. Forty-four percent have some college education and half a million minimum wage workers are college graduates. According to expert analysis of data from the past two decades, even at times of high unemployment there is no clear evidence that wage increases affected job creation.
Gov. Fallin’s actions seemingly reflect that she is more concerned with business profits than with the well-being of workers in the state of Oklahoma. Let her know you deplore her decision to ban wage increases and paid sick leave.
Dear Governor Fallin,
I have recently learned of your decision to ban minimum wage increases and paid sick leave requirements in the state of Oklahoma. By signing this bill into law, you have made it harder for the residents of your state to have the opportunity to work for a living wage.
You have cited a concern that higher minimum wages would force businesses to other states and result in higher prices for consumers. Based on expert analysis of employment data over the past two decades, there is no clear evidence that wage increases affect job creation.
You also assert that most minimum wage workers are teenagers employed at part-time or entry level positions, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent report based on 2013 data, the average minimum wage worker is thirty-five years old. More than a quarter have a child to support and more than half work full time.
As the governor of the state of Oklahoma, it is your duty to represent all of the individuals living there, not just a select few. Your recent actions indicate that you value capitalism and large business owners over the well-being of the people of your state. I urge you to take immediate action to help ensure that everyone has access to jobs that pay a living wage.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: The All-Nite Images via Flickr