Indiana legislators call for $12 minimum wage

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Michigan City, Ind. "It's hard to survive on $7.25" was the message of a Michigan City town hall meeting aimed at building support for legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $12 by the year 2020.

The event was sponsored by SEIU Healthcare and included speakers U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), State Rep. Scott Pelath (D-6th Dist.), Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer.

Visclosky is a supporter of the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the wage to $8 and then phase in $1 increases over the next four years.

The legislation would also tie the federal minimum wage to the median wage, indexing the minimum wage to median wage growth after the year 2020.

At the meeting, minimum wage earners, scholars and community leaders alike described the pains of not being able to make ends meet while working full time in Indiana.

"I'm a responsible worker, I'm a hard worker I'm your go to gal when things are running short and it still isn't enough," said Rose Tinder O'Brien, an Elkhart healthcare worker who spoke up at the meeting. "Too many Hoosiers, too many Americans face these struggles every day."

About 108,000 workers in Indiana make at or below minimum wage, according to census data.

Nearly three-fourths of those minimum wage workers are women, added Representative Pelath.

"People need to be able to take care of their families and be able to afford to get new skills so they can get ready for the jobs of tomorrow," he said.

Speakers urged residents to contact their senators and representatives about supporting the Raise the Wage Act legislation.

"The pressure that has been put on human being's labor and this race to see how little we can pay them for that dignity of work -- we ought to start putting some pressure on the bottom and putting that wage up," Congressman Visclosky told the crowd.

If passed, the legislation would the raise wages for about 35 million workers across the U.S.