Local leaders advocate minimum wage over $10

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South Bend, Ind. Minimum wage workers and community leaders rallied in downtown South Bend Thursday morning for the "National Day of Action Against Low Pay."

Speakers, including Councilman Henry Davis, advocated support of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which will soon come up for vote in the U.S. Senate.

The group met outside the Family and Social Services Agency on La Salle and Michigan Ave. in the hopes of highlighting the difficulties that minimum wage workers experience in trying to support themselves and their families.

The motion would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 from $7.25, where it has been for the last four years.

The act would also tie tipped workers, who currently receive $2.13 per hour, to the minimum wage. They would receive 75 percent of that new minimum wage -- or around $7 dollars.

Another change is that the minimum wage would now be indexed in order to adjust to changes in the cost of living over time.

North Central Indiana AFL-CIO President Tony Flora says even $10.10 is not enough.

"We want to restore the purchasing power that low wage workers have lost in this country," Flora said. "Our communities are being destroyed by income inequality. And the first solid step forward is to have the federal government raise the minimum wage to 10 dollars and 10 cents, which is far from extraordinary."

For minimum wage worker Joe Shabazz, the increase is at least a step in the right direction.

"If I made 10.10 an hour I could live with my wife and we could actually have a life together," Shabazz said. "Those are the kinds of issues created by poverty."

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