Seth Harris at a roundtable in Atlanta (Source: Department of Labor)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris asks a room full of low-wage workers
around the country if anyone "had to skip a bill, or make the tough
decision between paying for food or rent, medicine or school supplies,"
nearly every hand went up.
Like others Harris has met with around the country,
these workers face hardships in not being able to make ends meet on their
low-wage workers here in Cincinnati will also have a chance to sit down with
the acting secretary on March 20 to join in a national conversation on
raising the federal minimum wage.
Last month, President Obama proposed raising the federal
minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour by 2015.
Harris plans more minimum wage roundtables in the coming weeks.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of
Labor Statistics has released a report titled "Characteristics of Minimum
Wage Workers: 2012." The report shows that 75.3 million workers in the
United States age 16 and over were paid at hourly rates, representing 59
percent of all wage and salary workers. Among those paid by the hour, 1.6
million earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
About 2 million had wages below the federal minimum.
The report also shows that nearly one-half of
those earning at or below the federal minimum wage is at least 25 years old,
and women make up nearly two-thirds of those earning at or below the federal
minimum wage. More than a third of those earning at or below the current
federal minimum wage is working full-time. Finally, 15 percent of those earning
at or below the federal minimum wage is African-American, and one-fifth is
Latino or Hispanic.
Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris has
issued the following statement about the report:
"Workers earning the federal minimum
wage have not had a raise in nearly four years. As the report makes clear, many
are working adults with full-time jobs, and we know that some low-wage workers
are holding down more than one job."