Setting The Bar Low: What Minimum Wage Does For Women of Color

Minimum Wage Women of Color BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of Getty.

During the Biden-Harris administration’s campaign, one of their top concerns was raising the minimum wage. Most of the House of Representatives agrees with this action, while only a couple of Democrats in the Senate join the initiative.

However, those who would greatly benefit from the rise in the minimum wage of women of color. More specifically, those who’ve been significantly impacted by the pandemic and economic shutdown, adding to their struggle from before this all started. 

The campaign promise droved many voters to the polls and even flipped the Senate after Georgia’s runoff elections.

However, after the COVID relief package was passed over the weekend, politicians in the Senate backtracked their support for the bill. Coincidentally, ahead of International Women’s Day, we were left forgotten in the United States once again. The wage increase was removed from the bill at the last minute, demonstrating that, for Republicans, the future of women of color in the country is not a priority.

The Raise the Wage Act would improve the salary of some 32 million employees, 59 percent of them women, roughly 19 million, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the National Employment Law Project (NELP). 

Their findings support the idea that women in the United States are underrepresented and undersupported to this day. One-third of African Americans and one-quarter of Latinas would receive a raise if the federal minimum wage were increased. 

To no surprise, the EPI report for that African American and Latinos are paid 10-15 percent less than a white employee. 

The minimum wage increase would also be for those who work in the tipping industry. In 43 out of the 50 states, those employees who are tipped can be paid $2.13 an hour at the federal level and $5 or less than in the other 7 of 10 states. 

The Biden administration has the power to deliver their promises to the same people who helped them win the election, women of color. The opportunity is still there, through Senate leadership creating a minimum of 50 votes in the next proposed initiative or by the Senate sidestepping the filibuster, which would let Democrats enact reform outside of budget reconciliation. 

If this promise isn’t met, it will derive belief from the same people that put them in office. A procedural ruling doesn’t leave out the option of pushing forward the minimum wage increase and continuously fighting for it. 

Forgetting about the people who rallied for you isn’t fair, and just shows that politics will always be a popularity game, with no real change.