Civil Rights Coalition Applauds Expected Passage of Federal Minimum Wage Act

Media 01.31.07

“Every Congress passes important legislation but few bills have the measurable impact of the Federal Minimum Wage Act.  Nearly 15 million workers at the bottom of the economic ladder will finally see Washington recognize their work if, as expected, the Senate passes the bill tomorrow.

It’s unfortunate, though, that Congress couldn’t pass the bill without loading it up with yet another set of business tax sweeteners.  Some legislators argued that the increase in the minimum wage, from $5.15 to $7.25, hurts small business.  Not true.  Eighty-six percent of small business owners in a poll by the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index said the minimum wage had no effect on their businesses.

Despite the bill’s kowtow to business, the first rise in the federal minimum wage in more than 10 years should be celebrated. 

Millions of women and minority workers concentrated among the pool of minimum wage workers will be able to count on $2.10 more per hour in their paychecks.  It might mean a meal out for the family, a new jacket for a child, or the comfort of raising the thermostat a couple of degrees.

An increase to the federal minimum wage is itself no panacea, but it is a step up on the ladder of financial security and an acknowledgement of the dignity of work.”


Roughly 14.9 million workers will benefit from increasing the federal minimum wage:

  • 3.9 million parents will benefit
  • 1.4 million single parents will benefit, the bulk of whom are single mothers
  • 7.3 million children will benefit

Women and people of color disproportionately work in minimum wage jobs:

·  59 percent of minimum wage workers are women

·  40 percent of minimum wage earners are people of color

o 16 percent are African-American

o 19 percent are Hispanic

Minimum wage increases have no negative impact:

  • Studies of federal and state minimum wage increases have consistently shown no measurable evidence of job loss, even when only looking at small businesses 
  • Studies show minimum wage increases raise productivity, lower recruiting and training costs, decrease absenteeism, and increase morale

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The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition. For more information on LCCR and its more than 200 member organizations, visit