The current federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour, which comes out to around $15,000/year, well below the poverty line for a family of four. The minimum wage has not been raised to keep up with inflation, but CEO pay has risen 725% in the last 30 years.
In Philadelphia, demonstrators rallied at Burlington Coat Factory, which pays its workers minimum wage. The company is owned by Bain Capital, the multi-billion dollar corporation started by presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney has made millions off poverty wages, including those at Burlington. Once Bain took over that company, they fired all employees then offered to hire them back at minimum wage. Burlington Coat Factory is now making record profits, but that success has not been shared with workers.
In Pittsburgh, 150 demonstrators marched downtown to the City Council building. They were joined by local political leaders also pushing for a raise to the minimum wage. Their message focused on the economic boost that would result from a raise. Building a strong middle class and putting money into the pockets of those workers will result in a quicker economic recovery.