There is a new push to raise the federal minimum wage. The base-pay rate has not been lifted in three years.
Minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Groups like Citizen Action of Wisconsin are calling on Congress to pass legislation raising the rate to $9.80 an hour.
Jennifer Addison is with Citizen Action. Quoting from statistics from the Economic Policy Institute, she says 80 percent of minimum wage earners are over the age of 20, and many are trying to support families. "This is a part of the new American economy and our elected officials need to wake up and realize the new face of low wage work."
Addison says 600,000 people in Wisconsin would benefit from a higher minimum wage. She adds that 42 percent of them work full time.
Laura Dresser is an economist with the Center on Wisconsin Strategy. She also supports the call for a pay raise, "So that there aren't people who, in this richest nation in the world, get to the end of the month without enough food who work in a grocery store and can't buy enough food, or who work in health care and don't have health insurance."
Business owners often argue against a boost to the minimum wage saying it cuts into profit margins.
The Fair Minimum Wage Act has been introduced in Congress; it calls for raising the base pay in three increments eventually reaching $9.80.