Small businesses declare support for minimum wage ballot campaign in Bangor, Maine

From Maine Insights. Full article go to: Small businesses announce support for minimum wage ballot campaign in Bangor, Maine

Elena Metzger, owner of Northeast Reprographics, a print and copy shop in downtown Bangor. Courtesy photo.

Elena Metzger, owner of Northeast Reprographics, a print and copy shop in downtown Bangor. Courtesy photo.

By Ramona du Houx

On July 28, 2015, small business owners gathered at The Briar Patch bookstore on Central Street in Bangor to announce their support for the campaign to place a minimum wage increase on the ballot in 2016. Supporters spoke about how raising wages improves their communities and their businesses, and unveiled a list of over 150 small business owners from across the state that are publicly supporting the increase.

“Raising the minimum wage is a matter of basic fairness for working Mainers, but it would also make a more level playing field for my business,” said Elena Metzger, owner of Northeast Reprographics, a print and copy shop in downtown Bangor. “I’m competing against large corporations who are not personally invested in the people or community of Bangor. With a higher minimum wage, these big corporations would have to do the right thing like I already do and provide for their employees.”

The last time the minimum wage was raised in Maine was under Governor John Baldacci in 2009. The current $7.50 is a poverty wage and only .25 cents higher than the federal minimum. People working for minimum wage often are full time workers leaving them no time to progress their lives in other ways. Many have said they would like to earn a college degree but can’t even dream to do so on their wages. Many would just like a little cash to shop downtown. Continue reading

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F.D.R.’s case for the Minimum Wage rings true for raising it too

fdrWhat F.D.R. said in 1938 about establishing a minimum wage is also true about raising it: “Without question it starts us toward a better standard of living and increases purchasing power to buy the products of farm and factory.”

From an article in The New York Times

By TERESA TRITCH MARCH 7, 2014

In the more than 75 years since Congress first enacted a federal minimum wage — at 25 cents an hour — lawmakers have increased it nine times, reaching the current level of $7.25 an hour in 2009. And with every increase the same objections have been raised.

Today, instead of dismantling these arguments on my own I decided to get a little help from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had to fight Republicans, conservative Democrats, the Supreme Court and corporate leaders to pass the initial minimum wage in 1938.

Objection: Raising the minimum wage will hurt business and reduce employment.

“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.” (1933, Statement on National Industrial Recovery Act) Continue reading

Lewiston spaghetti dinner forum to raise awareness of increasing the minimum wage

Former Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci is hosting a spaghetti dinner/minimum wage forum on Friday June 26th at the Elks Lodge #371, 1675 Lisbon Street in Lewiston, from 5pm-7pm.

“These spaghetti dinners have always been a great opportunity to bring the community together for a family dinner that encourages discussion and unity on important working class issues,” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.

Maine businessman Jim Wellehan, healthcare activist and entrepreneur Donato Tramuto, Auburn State Rep. Gina Melargno, former state senator Eloise Vitelli, and former Lewiston Planning Director Jim Lysen will speak about raising the minimum wage in Maine.

Speakers will address the dire economic situation faced by low income Mainers and the need for local and state action to increase the minimum wage. According to the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute (EPI) the federal minimum wage of $7.25 is worth $2 less today than it was in 1968 when adjusted for inflation.

Someone working 40 hours a week at the federal minimum wage of $7.25, would earn $290 each week—or $15,080 every year—$4,610 below the federal poverty level.

“Nobody working a 40 hour week should live in poverty,” said Councilor Baldacci. Continue reading

Former Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci hosts Spaghetti Dinner/ Minimum Wage Forum in Lewiston

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Former Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci is hosting a spaghetti dinner/minimum wage forum on Friday June 26th at the Elks Lodge #371, 1675 Lisbon Street in Lewiston, from 5pm-7pm.

“These Spaghetti Dinners have always been a great opportunity to bring the community together for a family dinner that encourages discussion and unity on important working class issues,” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.

Maine businessman Jim Wellehan, healthcare activist and entrepreneur Donato Tramuto, Auburn State Rep. Gina Melargno, former state senator Eloise Vitelli, and former Lewiston Planning Director Jim Lysen will speak about raising the minimum wage in Maine.

Speakers will address the dire economic situation faced by low income Mainers and the need for local and state level action to increase the minimum wage. According to the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute (EPI) the federal minimum wage of $7.25 is worth $2 less today than it was in 1968 when adjusted for inflation. The EPI study found a full-time worker would need to earn $11.06 an hour in 2011 to keep a family of four out of poverty.

Someone working 40 hours a week at the federal minimum wage of $7.25, would earn $290 each week—or $15,080 every year—$4,610 below the federal poverty level. Continue reading