Please Support HB25 And Retain $16 Minimum Wage Bill

CWA7076 Executive Vice President (and Los Alamos resident!)

Dear Editor and Los Alamos Community,

Our illustrious Representative, Christine Chandler, has proposed a $16 minimum wage bill, which is an important step in beginning to lift many New Mexicans out of poverty. On Tuesday, after a frustrating debate where no decision was made, the committee will return to make a decision on the bill today. I urge you to write to the House Labor, Veteran’s, and Military Affairs Committee in support of HB 25. You can find my letter below. 

Mister Chair and Committee,

I urge you to pass HB25 out of committee today with no further amendments than those outlined by the bill sponsors to modify the mechanism for indexing. Retain the $16 minimum wage. Our state workers deserve a living wage, and $16 is not nearly enough for our working families. 

As of 2020, on average, women in the US earn 83 cents per every dollar earned by a man (United States Census Bureau). The gender pay gap is even worse for Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous women, with Hispanic women only earning 55 cents per every dollar earned by a man. This means that women, especially women of color, are more severely impacted by the lack of a living wage. In a 2021 article, the Center for American Progress reports that “Raising the Minimum Wage would be Transformative for Women”, especially women of color.

I was disappointed by the committee debate, where it appears opinion was, once again, swayed by the agriculture and restaurant lobby, who are VERY CLEARLY exempt from this bill. And those in opposition from the chambers of commerce; businesses should not be built at the expense of keeping our most marginalized communities in poverty. 

What I believe I heard one committee member say, if you will allow me to paraphrase, is that he has built four businesses on the backs of his employees, which has afforded him enough financial resources to spend two months at the Roundhouse, unpaid, so that he can vote to continue to pay a poverty wage. 

Please do pass this bill with a $16 minimum.