In just a couple hours, men and women across the country will get dressed up for a wonderful evening at their favorite restaurants with fancy chocolates and flowers galore. As we celebrate another Valentine's Day, let's take a moment to think about who is preparing those chocolates, cutting those flowers, and waiting your table. In all likelihood, those individuals are making less than a living wage.
Those workers represent millions of low-wage Americans, who have been silenced by our society and the powers that be. I like to call them the emerging majority, which includes non-college educated youth, black and brown folks, and single mothers.
Our economy depends on these Americans. They spend the highest percentage of their income on consumer goods and thus are essential to our fragile economic recovery. These individuals go to work every day and they don't complain -- all they ask for is a fair day's wage for a fair day's work. And you know what? These individuals at least deserve that level of dignity when many of their employers are making billions of dollars of profit.
The good news here is these billion dollar corporations aren't the one that get to make that decision -- we do too! A recent poll indicated that an overwhelming number of Americans support raising the minimum wage. Sadly, our Congress overwhelming disagrees with the American people.
For far too long we have lived in a country where millionaires, billionaires, and corporations control the U.S. Congress. The reason we have not seen a minimum wage increase in years is because these multi-billion dollar corporations are inherently profit seeking. They don't believe in respecting the American worker because they don't have to. As long as their shareholders are happy, then they are happy.
If you look back in history, workers have always had to demand respect, whether it was the Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 1886 or more recently, the UPS worker strike of 1997. Americans have always had to fight tooth and nail for wage increases and this time will not be any different.
This Valentines Day we should remember that sometimes love has got to be tough. Now is the time to show some tough love to this country by fighting, striking, and standing up for what is right. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 is just the beginning.
We should demand a living wage for every working American not just because it is feels good. We should demand a living wage because it makes economic sense. Giving working families more income allows them to have more buying power and more buying power means more money being pumped into our economy, creating economic growth. The math is just that simple, but sadly our friends to the right missed that lesson in high school economics class.
So as you prepare to celebrate love in the next couple hours, remember those that are working to make your night a success. Show them some love and stand-up for a living wage.