In November, Maine will have the opportunity to raise the minimum wage for thousands of hardworking people who struggle to meet their basic daily family needs for housing, food, medication, etc.

Some will argue against raising the minimum wage, saying that it is an entry level wage or that the folks earning it need to go to school to better themselves. Another argument is that most people earning the minimum wage are teenagers living at home.

Consider this.

The purpose of the minimum wage, according to Cornell University School of Law, was to stabilize the post-Depression economy and protect the workers in the labor force. The minimum wage was designed to create a minimum standard of living to protect the health and well-being of employees.       

Education levels or work experience were not a factor in the political debates of having a minimum wage, according to the website for the Federal Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

A University of Maine study in 1999 showed that more than two-thirds of the workers earning minimum wage or less are adults 20 years of age or older, and that roughly seven out of every 10 minimum wage workers in Maine are women who are often single moms trying their best to raise their children without state assistance.

Consider, also, that just because one worker leaves a minimum wage job, that job will still exist for the next person to fill at minimum wage. That is the real issue here.

Joseph Mailey, Auburn


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