Christine Stuart photo
While it won’t effect many people in Connecticut, Congressmen-elect Joe Courtney, D-2nd, and Christopher Murphy, D-5th, will fight along with a Democratic-controlled Congress to increase the federal minimum wage, which hasn’t been increased in a decade. At a press conference Monday at the state Capitol, Courtney said during the 22-months he spent on the campaign trail he heard about the struggles middleclass and working class families have making ends meet.
Murphy echoed Courtney’s comments about the campaign trail. He said this past weekend he was recognized by a woman at a convenient store who wanted to know what he was going to do for someone like her who struggles to pay the bills every month. Murphy said this vote on increasing the minimum wage is important for the symbolic message it sends to the voters because it recognizes the need to do more for working families. Courtney said raising the federal minimum wage will also help Connecticut’s economy because it will level the playing field for employers discouraged by paying employees a higher wage. But Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brookfield, said there’s no evidence employers were discouraged from locating to the state based on the higher minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has been frozen at $5.15 since 1997. John Olsen AFL-CIO president said when adjusted for inflation the minimum wage is at its lowest level in 51 years. In Connecticut the minimum wage is $7.40 and will increase to $7.65 in January. Employees like waitresses whose salaries fall below the minimum wage because their income is also based on tips will see an increase in their base salary if the federal minimum wage is increased in the 110th Congress, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Lori Pelletier, said.