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Published: Monday, 3/31/2014 - Updated: 6 months ago

Lucas County commissioners support raising minimum wage

BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Nearly 50 percent of all African Americans, 41 percent of Latinos, and 21 percent of Caucasians in Lucas County are currently living below poverty level, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates; proof that it’s past time for the state and federal minimum wage to be increased from $7.95 per hour to $10.10 per hour so that people can make a livable wage, county and city officials said during a news conference today.

The Lucas County Board of Commissioners is expected to pass a resolution on Tuesday urging the Ohio Legislature to pass House Bill 502 and urge the U.S. Senate to take actions necessary to raise the minimum wage, Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken announced during the morning conference held at One Government Center.

Toledo’s City Council will discuss a similar resolution on Tuesday and will likely approve it during the April 8 meeting, said Councilman Lindsay Webb.

“It’s time for people to wake up and act,” Commissioner Gerken said. “It’s an issue that’s real and affects people everyday.”

People who currently work a 40-hour per week minimum wage job make $318 before taxes are taken out, he said. That’s not enough to pay for housing, bills, food, and raise children.

“I think it’s morally wrong,” Councilwoman Webb said.

“How real is this?" she asked. “Go to any fast food restaurant right now and ask an employee how they are doing, if they have children; and you’ll discover they are living below the poverty level.”

Commissioners Gerken, Carol Contrada, and Tina Skeldon said raising the minimum wage would help nearly one million Ohioans and give workers more money to spend on the basics they need.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.



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