This Wednesday, the U.S. Senate intends to vote on the “Minimum Wage Fairness Act”, a bill which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10. The federal minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 per hour since 2009, which has resulted in millions of Americans struggling in poverty despite holding full-time employment, and relying on benefits like SNAP to sustain themselves and their families. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation between 1968 and today, the minimum wage would be over $10.50. It is no surprise that every community would benefit from an increase of the minimum wage, but people of color, and in particular Latinos, stand to benefit the most.
The current minimum wage economically marginalizes millions of Americans who have the capacity to generate growth in the economy. The Minimum Wage Fairness Act would be a significant step to address this gap and help lift people out of poverty. Latinos, Blacks, and Asians, who constitute a larger share of minimum-wage earners than their share of the overall workforce, would benefit significantly. Recent analysis by the Center for American Progress found that a raise in the minimum wage would increase the total combined wages of people of color by $16.1 billion, raising the wages of Hispanics in the U.S. by $8.5 billion.This article was originally published in Latinovations' La Plaza.