Today, the U.S. Senate blocked a key vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act (S. 460), a bill that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour by 2015. Provisions in the bill would have also tied minimum wage increases to cost of living increases, and eventually, raised the wage for tipped workers, which has remained frozen for the last 20 years.
National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “The Senate’s failure to move the minimum wage bill forward is a disappointing blow to transgender and LGBT Americans who are more likely than most to scrape by on poverty-level wages. Transgender people are four times more likely to be living in extreme poverty on less than $10,000 per year.”
Keisling added, “In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, certain Senators have decided to play politics with our nation’s poor instead of upholding their moral duty to help all families care for their loved ones.”
The National Center for Transgender Equality joined the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in issuing a fact sheet on how raising the minimum wage would affect LGBT people. As the fact sheet states, though there is little data on the number of LGBT minimum wage workers, a significant percentage of LGBT people are minimum wage earners given what is known about rates of poverty among LGBT people.