Congratulations to Massachusetts lawmakers for passing a minimum wage increase to $11 an hour for the state’s low-wage workers. I’m proud that my home state is leading the nation in decent work and decent wages (“State on way to being a US pacesetter for minimum wage,” Page A1, June 13).
Unfortunately, if we rely solely on a state-by-state response to low wages, and members of the Massachusetts delegation fail to work with their colleagues in both parties in Congress for an increased federal minimum wage, we will fail to secure a decent wage for more than 25 million low-wage workers around the country.
For workers in the Ozarks, south Texas, and south Florida, for example, state governments are not likely to act. A lot is at stake, as 14 million children in our country live in families where parents work but are stuck in poverty.
Oxfam’s research shows that one in five American workers would benefit from a federal minimum wage increase to $10.10. Our map shows the bipartisan benefits of an increased minimum wage that would help workers earn an extra $1,300 a year — enough to buy 10 weeks of groceries for a family of four. We need Democrats and Republicans to work together to find a way forward in Washington as well as in Massachusetts.