Group sues state over minimum wage
Wisconsin Jobs Now says it's filing the suit because the Department of Workforce Development is not following state law by looking into claims that people can't live on the current minimum wage.
Wisconsin statute says when an employer pays a worker it should \"be not less than a living wage.\"
The problem is, a dollar figure on the living wage is not defined. That's why Raise Wisconsin [program created in part by Wisconsin Jobs Now] is trying to make the state define that phrase by filing complaints on behalf of 100 workers who feel they are underpaid.
The group is also trying to raise the minimum wage.
\"Walker's determination that $7.25 per hour constitutes a living wage in accordance with state law was made without following up with any of the complainants.\" said Wisconsin Jobs Now director Jennifer Epps-Addison.
Those complaints were filed with the Department of Workforce Development, an arm of Governor Walker's administration. Earlier this month, DWD said there's no reason to believe those workers on the complaint are not making a living wage.
Today, Walker said the lawsuit has nothing to do with actually raising the minimum wage.
“They're all trying to generate stories in your publications and your newscasts for things that could've easily done years ago but they're choosing to do now, not because they're serious about it, because it's the raw cheap political stunts\" Walker said.
When Raise Wisconsin asked for documents on how DWD figured out workers are making a living wage, it says the department only referenced a report from the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. That organization endorses Walker.
The organization's CEO, Ed Lump, said, “The effort by Wisconsin Jobs Now in the lawsuit, and the advisory referendums in many municipalities are about politics and this election. They are not about raising the minimum wage.” Lump continued, “We are opposed to raising the minimum wage at this time because we feel the economy isn't strong enough. It will cost a lot of jobs, especially young and first time employees. Minimum wage is not about living wage, it's about starting wage.”