Former Mayor Marc Morial, who is now President and CEO of the National Urban League, has announced the Urban League's support of the "Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013," which would incrementally raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over three years and adjust it for inflation thereafter.
Current federal minimum wage, established in 2009, is $7.25 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees, such as restaurant servers, is $2.13 per hour for employees whose combined tips and salary regularly meet minimum wage standards.
In his February State of the Union address, President Barack Obama expressed support for raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour. In March, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., introduced the measure.
"The National Urban League wholeheartedly supports the Harkin-Miller bill," Morial wrote. "It would result in 30 million people receiving a raise, nearly half of whom would be people of color."
Morial also touted the support of the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, but the notion is opposed by other business interests, including the lobbying group the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor, Louisiana is one of only five states with no statewide law regarding minimum wage. Eighteen states and Washington D.C. have established minimum wages higher than those specified by federal law. The state of Washington tops the list with a $9.19 per hour minimum wage, but the highest minimum wage in the country is in the city of San Francisco: $10.55 per hour. — KEVIN ALLMAN