Raise HI’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Your testimony could make it happen

Support working families: Submit testimony for SB 2291 by 3:30pm Mon Feb 5, 2018.

The hearing for this bill is scheduled for Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 3:30 PM in conference room 229. See the hearing notice.

SB 2291:

  • Raises the minimum wage to $15 by 2020
  • Eliminates the lower minimum wage for tipped workers
  • Provides for automatic cost-of-living increases

If you haven’t registered to submit testimony online, it’s really easy. Just go to this link to get started.

This link takes you to a page set up by HawaiiFight for15 to make submitting testimony simple. https://hawaiifightfor15.com/submit-testimony

Make the testimony yours by using any portion of the sample testimony that resonates with you but PLEASE DO ADD YOUR PERSPECTIVE.

If you are a business owner, say so.

If you know someone struggling to keep it together working one or two minimum wage jobs while looking after their family, say so.

If you have yourself struggled to make ends meet on Hawaii’s minimum wage, (the lowest in the nation when cost of living is factored in) say so.

If you are involved in ministries to working families in need, say so.

If you encounter the houseless, directly as a service provider, or indirectly because you cannot help but see them on your way to school or work, say so.

Carol: Special Ed teacher by day; waitress by night

A group of us met Carol (not her real name) at a busy restaurant after a night at the movies. It was late, but Carol took our orders cheerfully. We told her about the effort to get an increase to the minimum wage in Hawaii this year.

And she told us her story:

Carol is a Special Ed teacher.  She “loves, loves, loves” her work. But she added, “I am divorced. I cannot pay my mortgage or care for my family on my Special Ed teacher’s pay. I need a second job.”

But she agonizes about the hours spent at her second job because it eats into her time preparing for her students. “I have one autistic kid who really has trouble understanding stories unless they are dramatized for him. So I try to make little props to help me do that. But with the hours I put in at a second job, I am so tired when I get home, I often can’t spend time making those little props. It makes me feel so guilty. I feel so bad for him.”

Perhaps we should all feel guilty. We should all feel bad. For failing our neighbors and our friends who simply cannot make it on $21,000 a year–that’s what they earn at the new $10.10 an hour wage if they worked all year, with no weekdays off.

Some small businesses are already doing right by their employees. Businesses like Kihei Ice on Maui.Tina Wildberger, who owns the business, acknowledges the cost of doing the right thing, but has no regrets.

“Did taking our entry-level employees from $10/hour to $15/hour reduce the amount of money that goes into our own retirement? Sure. But was it worth it? Absolutely.”

She does not miss doing 42 W-2s a year, compared to the 18 or so she does now. “Our employees are happy, positive contributors. We went from a high turnover employer to a business with a high employee retention rate,” she says.

Please take a moment this weekend to tell legislators why you think they need to raise the minimum wage in Hawaii. It can be two lines– or ten. Just tell them to do it.

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Posted in Business and Justice, I BLOG, Justice
2 comments on “Raise HI’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Your testimony could make it happen
  1. Thanks for this opportunity and for making it easy to accomplish. I submitted my written testimony this Sunday/4th morning at 7:30 AM with the suggested excellent text, adding a paragraph with my personal plea for $15.

  2. Thanks, Bob. Much appreciated.

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