The right to a living wage is a fundamental human right. Yet today, far too many Maryland families are struggling to survive on minimum wage salaries that leave them in poverty.
In our state, the living wage for a family of four with two working adults is $27.32 per hour according to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator. But Maryland’s minimum wage remains stuck at just $13.25 per hour.
This gap is leaving over 10% of Maryland residents living in poverty. A report prepared by the United Way and United For Alice, found that 61% of Black children and 68% of Hispanic children in 2019 were living in households that struggled to meet basic needs. Families like the Smiths of Baltimore, who must choose between paying rent or buying groceries each month despite working multiple minimum wage jobs.
The widening gap between CEO pay and worker pay is a major part of this problem in the United States, and this troubling trend is only going to get worse if we do not take action. In 1950, the ratio of worker to CEO pay was 20 to 1. In 2021, the ratio of CEO-to-typical-worker compensation was 399-to-1 – a number that has skyrocketed nearly 1500% over the last fifty years. In today’s dollars, that’s $30K to $600K vs. $30K to $11.97M. This income inequality is simply greed.
How We Will Solve The Problem Together
As your next Senator, I will fight to close this gap and ensure all Marylanders can exercise their right to a living wage. Here is how we will make this right a reality:
First, I will push corporations to take responsibility and raise minimum wages within their business. I will work with executives to highlight the benefits of paying employees a living wage – including increased retention, productivity, and consumer spending power.
I will push large, profitable corporations and franchisors to raise minimum wages, while protecting small businesses. A tax on those making over $5M per year could fund tax credits to enable small business owners to pay toward the $30/hour living wage benchmark.
For companies resistant to change, I will galvanize unionizing efforts by workers to negotiate for fair compensation. Workers must be empowered to organize and collectively bargain. I will devote federal resources to protect and support these efforts.
Second, I will drive statewide initiatives to incrementally raise Maryland’s minimum wage to $15 per hour and index it to inflation. This will provide immediate relief to our lowest income residents.
How We Will Advance the Issue in Washington, DC and Maryland
In Washington, I will champion federal legislation to gradually increase the national minimum wage to a living wage. I will also fight to protect collective bargaining rights nationwide.
In Maryland, I will rally state legislators, mayors, city councils, and business leaders to address living wages at the local level through ordinances and corporate initiatives. I will utilize the bully pulpit of the Senate to keep this issue front and center.
The Benefits for America and Maryland
The benefits to uplifting working families through living wages will be far-reaching. Studies show 90% of Americans will spend the additional income, spurring economic growth. Maryland businesses will thrive when consumers have more spending power.
Join me in ensuring every Maryland resident can exercise their right to a living wage. Together, we can build a fairer economy that leaves no one behind.