Floridians to vote on minimum wage hike

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, Florida voters will have the chance to raise wages for over 300,000 minimum wage workers in the state by voting to raise the minimum wage to $6.15 per hour. The Florida Minimum Wage Amendment creates a state minimum wage covering all employees covered by the federal minimum wage. The state minimum will start at $6.15 per hour, and be indexed to inflation each year.

Amendment 5 will help the mothers and fathers who struggle to make ends meet on less than $11,000 a year. Florida would join many other states with a higher minimum than is federally mandated. As of July 2004, states with higher minimum wages include Alaska ($7.15), Conn. ($7.10), Calif. ($6.75), Delaware ($6.15), the District of Columbia ($6.15, set $1 above the federal minimum), Hawaii ($6.25), Illinois ($5.50, scheduled to rise to $6.50 in 2005), Maine ($6.25), Mass. ($6.75), Oregon ($7.05, adjusted annually), Rhode Island ($6.75), Vermont ($6.75, scheduled to rise to $7 in 2005), and Washington ($7.16, adjusted annually).

Testimonials given to the “Yes on 5” campaign include Irene Licharew from Orlando, who said, “I worked for Dollar Rent-a-Car earning $5.15 an hour, without health care, and without ever getting a raise. This year Hurricane Charley devastated my mobile home. I’m not the only one in my community or in the state who has been ravaged by the hurricane. A minimum wage job could not provide me with enough income before. How will I pay to repair my home now?”

Kendra Johnson of Miami said, “I know what it is like to be a single parent trying to raise two kids, while making $5.15 an hour. Everyday you have to struggle to keep a roof over your head. There is no money to pay for daycare. You can’t afford to buy clothes for your children.”

Rebecca Gardner of Tampa agreed. “We all know that $5.15 per hour is not enough. I will vote yes on 5 to give Florida raise.”