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.”