The state Department of Workforce Development has rejected living wage complaints made by workers last month
A coalition of labor groups filed the complaints in late September, claiming that Wisconsin’s minimum wage is too low and represents an unsupportable wage. The effort was meant to trigger an obscure state statute that compels the governor to ensure the state’s minimum wage is a “living wage.”
DWD responded to the complaints on Monday, saying “there is no reasonable cause to believe that wages paid to the complainants are not a living wage.”
Wisconsin Jobs Now executive director Jennifer Epps-Addison calls the finding outrageous, considering so many people are struggling to get by on the state’s minimum wage. “In this day and age, there’s not a single person in this state who believes a working family can survive on $7.25.”
She says it was disrespectful for the state to dismiss the complaints without even following up, or holding a hearing, or taking any actual testimony. She argues it “shows a complete disregard for the working people of the state” by Governor Scott Walker and his administration.
Governor Walker has frequently voiced opposition to increasing the state or federal minimum wage, arguing such action could actually reduce the number of jobs available and “put a buzz saw” to the state’s economic recovery.
Epps-Addison says workers will continue fighting for an increase and have not ruled out taking legal action.
AUDIO: Wisconsin Jobs Now executive director Jennifer Epps-Addison reacts to DWD findings.