WASHINGTON, DC - Today, thousands of hardworking Americans are rallying in cities across the United States to call on Congress and low-wage employers to increase the federal minimum wage. Meanwhile, tomorrow the U.S. Senate will vote on "The Middle Class Tax Cut Act" that would end Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 % - a bill that Republican Senators oppose. Ahead of today's nation-wide rallies, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement:
"Every day, we hear stories of working people struggling to support their families and to get by on wages hovering around the federal minimum. There is the story of security guards at JFK airport in New York City, who ensure the safety of millions of passengers, and earn just $8 an hour. For these workers, an increase in the minimum wage would mean the opportunity for decent housing or being able to finally make ends meet.
"At a moment when millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet - not to mention get ahead - right-wing members of Congress are considering extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. This is only the latest example of how out of touch right-wing lawmakers are with the day-to-day lives of ordinary people.
"But let's be clear, the GOP's tone deafness is not lost on the millions of Americans struggling to get by on the ever-eroding minimum wage. A hard day's work should be valued by our elected officials, not overshadowed by a rabid drive to protect tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations no matter the cost to our economy, communities and families.
"The notion that the elite 1% and corporations making billions need continued tax breaks, but hardworking people don't deserve a modest raise is absurd. Working people want concrete solutions-like raising the minimum wage-to growing income disparity, not more rhetoric about how tax cuts for the rich will eventually trickle down to the rest of us.
"It's past time for Congress to stop catering to the whims of the 1% and start working for the rest of America."