Residents Vow to Defend Local Progress against State Threats

Workers and community leaders will convene press conferences Saturday to celebrate 2017 minimum wage increases taking effect in Johnson, Linn, Polk, and Wapello counties. Local officials in the four counties, home to one third of the state’s private sector jobs and several of its fastest-growing communities, have enacted increases in response to vocal support for a higher minimum wage after nearly a decade of state inaction on the issue.

Speakers will respond to clear signs that incoming Iowa legislators are being pushed by out-of-state corporate groups to pass legislation rolling back the minimum wage increases as part of a wholesale attack on workers’ rights and wages. Speakers will call on legislators to drop threats to lower wages, and to adopt a statewide minimum wage that meets or exceeds increases already passed at the county level.

WHAT: “Celebrate Local Progress & Defend Workers’ Rights” Press Conferences

WHEN/WHERE:

Johnson County

2:00 pm, Center for Worker Justice, 940 S. Gilbert Court, Iowa City

Linn County

2:00 pm, Jean Oxley Public Service Center, 935 2nd St. SW, Cedar Rapids

Polk County

12:00 pm, I Work and Play, 1308 8th St., Suite 1, West Des Moines

Wapello County

12:00 pm, UFCW Local 230, 1305 E. Mary St., Ottumwa

Press conferences will include perspectives of local workers, small business owners, elected officials, and members of faith, labor, and community groups who will address the significance of wage increases for families, local businesses, social safety nets, and Iowa’s economy.

Iowa’s current state minimum of $7.25 translates to $15,080 for a full-time, year-round worker, not enough for any resident to meet basic needs. Iowa’s minimum wage was last increased on January 1, 2008, meaning low-wage workers have not had a raise in over nine years. In the meantime, 29 states (including four bordering Iowa) have increased their minimum wage rates above the federal level of $7.25, and a 2016 Iowa Poll showed 70% of Iowans favor a minimum wage increase.

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