SHAFAQNA – U.S. President Barack Obama raised the issue of federal minimum wage and equal pay for women on Monday at Milwaukee as he expressed his optimism in the nation’s recovery from recession. Republicans opposed Obama’s call for the issues about wage hike but the president wanted to make sure that all Americans are able to pay their bills, send their children to school, and meet other simple life goals. Obama talked in front of 6,000 people who gathered at the Laborfest 2014 yesterday which was arranged by the local American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). President Obama said they cannot deny that America deserves a raise. As an example, he cited the president of Kentucky State University who cut his pay just to give raises to the lowest-paid workers in the said institution. Obama noted that the Congress needs to understand the business and other institutions. There are already 13 states that moved to raise the minimum wage in their area, he said.
Obama also recapped his executive order back in February which required federal contractors to increase hourly wage from US$7.25 to US$10.10 by next year.
It is a known concern that raising the minimum wage would reduce the number of jobs available however the president responded saying that the states that raised their minimum wage have seen more growth in employment than those states who have not raised their wages yet.
Aside from his talks about minimum wage increase, Obama also mentioned that the country is slowly recovering from the recession which started on 2008.
The president noted that over 10 million jobs have been added in the course of four and a half years. He said the employment rate has increased and that American economy and workers have been better off ever since he took office. This was said to be the unofficial beginning of the general election and the president wanted to have a head start. His two-hour speech at the festival urged the people to focus on what the Democrats achieved for the country.
Obama also urged the crowd to vote and to not listen to those who say elections do no good to the country. He added that America is on the move and is making progress.
The president, however, said the Congress first needs to develop concern about wage hike, or else they themselves will take action to make it happen.