Nevada liberal groups want minimum wage boosted to $15 an hour

CARSON CITY — Nevada progressive organizations and the national Alliance for a Just Society organization called Tuesday for adoption of a “living wage” of at least $15 an hour.

According to Allyson Fredericksen of the Alliance for a Just Society, there are seven job seekers today for every job that pays a living wage of $15 an hour or more. That $15 is enough to sustain a single individual nationally, she added, although in Nevada it takes a $16.83-an-hour wage.

A couple with two children in Nevada would need $30 per hour to meet their basic needs and have enough for emergencies. And there are 54 job seekers for every one of these jobs, Fredericksen said.

“Work is no longer a guarantee for making enough of an income for yourself or your family,” added Laura Martin, the spokeswoman for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. “New jobs don’t pay enough for people to survive.”

But neither Martin nor Fredericksen demanded that government now make $15 an hour the minimum wage. Bills have been introduced in Congress to increase the minimum wage, now $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. Nevada’s minimum wage is $8.25 percent.

Martin said steps should be taken to raise the minimum wage, but she did not give a figure of what that wage should be. Fredericksen said the $15 wage is a goal that they would like adopted, although acknowledging it would take time.

ProgressNow Nevada, another liberal group, and PLAN will join a protest at a McDonald’s restaurant at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road that calls for fast-food workers to be paid $15 an hour. The event will be at 8 a.m. Thursday.

People who get good educations and work hard no longer are guaranteed that they will earn good wages, according to Jocelyn Torres, communications director of ProgressNow Nevada.

“That is the way it is supposed to be,” Torres said. “But those jobs are decreasing. It is difficult today to move up the ladder.”

Martin said that typically McDonald’s is not staffed by young people, but by women in their 20s and 30s because “they are the only jobs they can get.”

Torres said some corporations are reporting record profits and still they pay their employees minimum wages and force them to seek public assistance to make ends meet.

Copies of the national and Nevada reports on the “Job Gap” between job seekers and jobs that pay living wages can be found at www.thejobgap.org.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com, 775-687-3901 or on Twitter at @edison voge.


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