Baltimore Sun Op-Ed: Don’t Leave Tipped Workers Behind

Rep. Edwards and Donna S. Edwards, Secretary-Treasurer of the Maryland-DC AFL-CIO, had their op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun. 

 

No one who works full time in the wealthiest nation in the world should have to raise his or her family in poverty. Yet that has become the reality for so many workers, especially women, across our country as the minimum wage has failed to keep pace with the cost of living over the last 30 years. The hard truth is that the federal minimum wage is no longer a wage that allows families to make ends meet. This is an issue of gender, economic growth and values. In order to restore real opportunity for millions of Americans, it is time to raise the federal minimum wage.While it is encouraging that Maryland legislators are working to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, the decision by the House of Delegates (if left to stand) to freeze the tipped minimum wage represents a significant step backward for thousands of workers, particularly women. In Maryland, tipped workers’ minimum wages are capped currently at $3.63, or 50 percent of the current regular minimum wage, and women make up nearly two-thirds of all of our state’s workers in tipped occupations. Freezing the tipped minimum wage instead of raising it will undermine economic opportunities for, and create an even greater gap between, our lowest-wage workers and low-wage workers. This is unacceptable. No other state has taken such action to freeze their tipped minimum wage. Tipped workers are already vulnerable, as servers are three times as likely as other workers to live in poverty. Maryland should not cave to special industry sector carve outs and leave working women behind in our efforts to promote economic security for all Marylanders.The low tipped minimum wage results in workers relying on government services to close the gap between their wages and what they need to provide for their families. I hear from many women who work a full-time job but still need food stamps, nutrition assistance, help with their utilities, and public housing assistance to make ends meet. In effect, taxpayers are subsidizing the gap between low wages and what a family needs to live on. Instead, let’s just make companies and restaurants to pay fair wages that enable families to use their paycheck to make ends meet.

Raising the tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of $10.10 per hour would mean an increase of $6,880 per year for working families across our country. Research has also found that these raises will not cost Maryland’s economy jobs because low-wage workers would use this additional income to purchase goods and services from businesses. The non-partisan Economic Policy Institute found that the original legislation proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, which included an increase in the tipped minimum wage, would add almost $500 million in economic activity and 1,600 new jobs even after increased labor costs and the possibility of small price increases. This makes sense for Maryland’s economy.

A robust tipped minimum wage is an essential part of any effort to raise the minimum wage. At the federal level, I have introduced H.R. 650, the WAGES Act, in the last two Congresses, which would increase the tipped minimum wage for the first time in over 20 years. This legislation was added to the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, H.R. 1010, which would increase the minimum wage for all workers. There is no reason why legislators in Maryland should not pursue a similar strategy, and I urge our state lawmakers to support Governor O’Malley’s initial proposal by enacting a progressive minimum wage increase, including an increase in the tipped minimum wage. Let’s lead the nation by not leaving our tipped workers behind.

To view the article on the Baltimore Sun website, please click here.

Rep. Edwards Endorsed by President Barack Obama

Dear Friends,

Today, I received the endorsement of President Barack Obama. I am grateful that the President took the time to acknowledge our work on health care reform, job creation, and an economic agenda for women and families that includes making affordable childcare more accessible.

Here is the President in his own words:

“Donna has been a leader and advocate for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District. She is a strong ally in our fight for affordable healthcare, using innovative thinking to add a provision to the Affordable Care Act that holds insurance companies accountable for unjustifiable rate increases. Through her hard work, Maryland was added to the Afterschool Suppers Program.  She has not stopped there. As Chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, she is leading the charge to ensure that women are treated fairly in our economy – from affordable childcare to ensuring equal pay for equal work.  Her leadership is proof of what I said in the State of the Union: when women succeed, America succeeds.  As President, I know firsthand the creative thinking that makes Donna a tireless fighter and effective leader for America’s working families.  She has the ideas to meet the future challenges our nation faces in the 21st century.” – President Barack Obama, 4/2/14

Our successes derive from our continued commitment to improving the lives of working families, and I want to thank the President for his endorsement and for his leadership. I also want to thank you for the work you have done and your ongoing support of our campaign. I look forward to continue working with the President and each of you over the next two years on our shared priorities.

Thank you,

Donna

Rep. Edwards Hosts Women-Owned Business Roundtable

From the African American Newspaper:

Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D) visited the Clarion Hotel in Oxon Hill on Feb.10 to host a Women-Owned Business Roundtable in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District.

In June 2008, Edwards was sworn in as the first African-American woman to represent Maryland in the House of Representatives. In her tenure, she has introduced legislation to expand research and development, domestic manufacturing, and infrastructure spending to create jobs and grow the economy.

Attended by approximately 50 female entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs, the event discussed keys to starting and running a successful business, from accessing capital and federal contracts to utilizing mentor programs.

 

To read the entire article, please click here.

US News and World Report: “Democratic Women Want Equal Pay for Valentine’s Day”

As Chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, Rep. Edwards took part in a conference call highlighting the Women’s Economic Agenda.

From US News and World Report:

Next week, House Democrats will launch “What Women Need for Valentine’s Day.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., previewed what she and others have in store for the month of February on a conference call earlier this week with Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Donna Edwards, D-Md., along with “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon and pay equity activist Lilly Ledbetter.

“Stay tuned,” Pelosi said. “Next week the House Democratic women will launch an online campaign to highlight what women really want for Valentine’s Day. We’ll be sending more information on how we can work together to get the message out: When women succeed, America succeeds.”

Members of Congress will use social media to outline their Valentine’s Day wish list, which, beyond pay equity, also likely will include paid family and medical leave, paid sick days and affordable child care.

To read the entire article, please click here.

The Afro Newspaper: “Rep. Donna Edwards Visits UMES for HBCU STEM Tour”

The following article appeared in the Afro American Newspaper:

U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) continued her “2014 HBCU STEM Tour” Jan. 27 with a visit to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES).

Edwards met with University President Juliette B. Bell, and toured UMES’s Solar Energy Facility, Child and Family Development Center, and Flight Simulation Lab.

As a senior member of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Edwards is visiting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to tour their facilities and gain additional insight on how best to engage women and minorities in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

To view the original article, please click here.

Capital Gazette: More than 500 attend MLK memorial breakfast: “The fight’s not over”

Rep. Edwards was the keynote speaker at the 33rd Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast at Anne Arundel Community College.

From the Capital Gazette:

Donna Edwards was 19 and newly arrived at Wake Forest University when some fraternity members would march each year in Confederate uniforms and burn a black effigy.

It was 1976, about 30 years before Edwards would be elected Maryland’s first black congresswoman. And she offered the college memory Monday at the 33rd Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, saying of that Southern tradition, “It was shocking to me.”

Read the rest of the article by clicking here.

Afro Newspaper: Metro Unveils Next Generation Rail Cars

Earlier this month, Rep. Edwards participated in a press conference to unveil the new rail cars to be used by Metro.

“Safety is the most important thing,” Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md,) said during the news conference. “This is important because … a lot of people depend on this system for safety.”

To read the entire article by the Afro, please click here.

CNN’s Crossfire: “Should the minimum wage be increased?”

Rep. Edwards and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) were guests recently on CNN’s Crossfire.  They were asked if the minimum wage should be increase.

See what they say:

Rep. Edwards is a guest on Crossfire and discusses increasing minimum wage.

Rep. Edwards is a guest on Crossfire and discusses increasing minimum wage.

Rep. Edwards on NBC’s “Meet The Press”

On Nov. 10, Rep. Edwards took part in the panel discussion on “Meet The Press”.  They discussed the implications of the Affordable Care Act roll out.  The other guests were:

Doris Kearns Goodwin
Presidential historian

Mark Halperin
Time Magazine

Joe Scarborough
MSNBC’s Morning Joe

To watch the segment, please click here.

Afro American Newspaper: Women Congressional Leaders Conduct Womens’ Empowerment Forum

The Afro American Newspaper covered the forum held by Rep. Edwards, Sen. Mikulski, and Leader Pelosi on the Women’s Economic Agenda.

Here is an excerpt:

At the top of the agenda for the panel was income. With women continuing to trail men in pay, the target of economic parity looms large for women, the panelists agreed.

Edwards expressed the importance of paycheck fairness. “It’s important for us to have equal pay for work,” Edwards said.

Noting that women make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes on average in the U.S., Pelosi, former speaker of the House of Representative said a pay gap exists even for career women from their first year out of college and through womens’ lives.

To read the entire story, please click here.