Labor groups file complaint with Gov. Walker asking for living wage
MADISON (WKOW) -- Several labor groups have joined forces to file a complaint based on an obscure Wisconsin law, which calls on Gov. Scott Walker's (R-Wisconsin) administration to raise the state's minimum wage to a "living wage."
Raise Wisconsin and Wisconsin Jobs Now held a news conference at the State Capitol Wednesday morning to announce they were taking advantage of Chapter 104 of the state statutes to force the Governor's hand on the issue.
Dozens of low-wage workers then marched that complaint to Governor Walker's office Tuesday. Organizers say it isn't just for show.
"After filing this complaint today, he has 20 days to take appropriate action and to raise Wisconsin's minimum wage to a living wage," said Peter Rickman, campaign manager for Raise Wisconsin.
"Our Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will look at that. I said my goal all along was to find jobs that pay two or three times the minimum wage," said Gov. Walker, speaking to reporters in Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon.
While the Governor and his administration must respond to the complaint, they aren't required under the law to raise anyone's wage.
But advocates hope public pressure will force the governor to admit the wages are too low and make changes.
"I make nine dollars an hour as a hotel housekeeper. My income's not enough to support myself or my family," said Britany Ferguson, who wept as she asked for the Governor to raise her wages.
"I don't think he (Governor Walker) wants to find it inadequate for ideological reasons and I don't think he wants to find it adequate because that would be seen as ridiculous by a large percentage of the electorate," said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
"You know, people can have tactics that try and figure out how we're going to argue on what the floor is, I want to argue on how high we can push the ceiling to help people get higher pay and that and the best way to do that is through our plan to help people learn more to earn more," said Gov. Walker.
If DWD finds the complaint holds no validity, the issue will die there. But if they find the complaint is reasonable, the agency must appoint a wage council to determine what a living wage should be for the impacted employees.
Gov. Walker has been a staunch opponent of raising Wisconsin's minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25 per hour.
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