Tens of thousands of workers in Maryland – mostly women and people of color – struggle to make ends meet on minimum wage earnings.
With our allies in the Raise Maryland coalition, we organized for legislation in 2014 that would do three things:
1. Gradually raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour
2. Raise the tipped minimum wage to 70% of the full minimum wage
3. Index these wages to keep pace with inflation.
Governor O'Malley introduced a bill with these three elements as part of his legislative package. JUFJ members helped convince nearly the entire Montgomery County delegation to sign onto a letter of support for this bill. During the bill's mark-up, we kept pressure on key politicians.
Ultimately, an amended version of Governor O'Malley's bill passed: One that raised the minimum wage to $10.10 but with a longer timeline, no indexing, no raising of the tipped minimum wage, and an exemption for young workers in their first months on the job.
A Victory for Maryland
While we were disappointed that legislators chose to cave to industry pressure by including these amendments, we still see this as a big win. For the first time since 2006, Maryland's minimum wage is going to rise. In 2015, a full-time minimum wage earner will make $1750 more before taxes than she did in 2014.
We are very proud to have been part of an amazing coalition of people from across the state, and from diverse socio-economic and religious backgrounds, who got this passed. Now more states are joining us in increasing their minimum wage, from Vermont to Hawaii.