Effort Mounted Again to Raise Texas Minimum Wage

Labor unions and activist groups are again urging the Texas Legislature to substantially raise the minimum wage, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The Texas minimum wage is also the national minimum of $7.25 an hour, a figure that Rene Lara with the Texas AFL-CIO called 'unfair.'

"We believe that no  one  should work full time and live in poverty," he said.  "But, with a minimum wage of $7.25, poverty is a reality for many working Texans."

Several different bills are on the table, most of them are Constitutional Amendments which would require a vote of the people, but not the approval of Gov. Abbott.

They call for raising the minimum wage to $10.10, gradually raising the minimum wage to $10.10, to immediately raise the minimum wage for the entire state to $15, and to allow counties to vote on whether to raise the minimum wage in their county alone to $15.

Lara says both prices and worker productivity have increased over the past forty years, and the minimum wage has not kept pace.

"If we had kept the minimum wage on track with rising productivity, Texas workers would be making $18.42 an hour," Lara said.  "They have not shared in the fruits of our prosperity."

The measure failed in the 2015 session and is almost certain  to fail again this session.  Republicans who control the Legislature issued a variety of concerns, from rising inflation, to fast food franchisees cutting staffing or adding automation, to businesses being unable to stay in operation.

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