President Barack Obama’s proposal to increase the minimum wage will give a boost to union members who already earn more than the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.
Many unions in the retail and service industries have negotiated provisions into contracts that would boost union salaries in the event of minimum wage increases, according to a study from labor watchdog Center for Union Facts (CUF).
“Some union contracts are triggered by raising minimum wage,” CUF Managing Director J. Justin Wilson said. “The workers are going to get an automatic wage hikes in addition to what they would already get.”
Organized labor has been a major player in the fight for higher minimum wages at both the federal and state levels.
Labor leaders have pledged to fight for the $9 minimum wage Obama proposed during his State of the Union address.
Some groups have already set up campaign infrastructure at the state level. Dozens of religious and labor groups formed Raise Maryland to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10 per hour, according to spokesman Matt Hanson.
“We’re obviously happy that President Obama is trying to raise the federal minimum to $9 an hour, but we’re focused on raising it to $10 in Maryland—we know we can’t wait on John Boehner,” he said, referring to the Republican speaker of the House who vowed to fight a minimum wage hike.
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