Victory for Raise the Wage Kansas

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May 1 2009
"Let Justice Roll's state-level successes in 2006 convinced us that we could succeed in Kansas, too. And we hope that others, elsewhere, will draw similar conclusions from our success. It might seem, at first glance, that raising the Kansas minimum wage would have been unusually difficult in the current economic downturn. But actually, this may have helped us, since the needs of vulnerable and low-wage workers became clearer than ever. And raising the minimum wage is a form of economic stimulus." -- David Smith and Heidi Zeller, Kansas Action Network & Let Justice Roll.

Kansas will no longer have the nation's lowest state minimum wage -- a paltry $2.65 for two long decades -- thanks to the Raise the Wage Kansas campaign begun in 2007. Legislation passed by large majorities in the House and Senate and signed by the governor in April raises the Kansas minimum wage to $7.25, effective January 1, 2010. That's a $4.60 increase! About 20,000 workers will benefit.

Raise the Wage Kansas built momentum for the successful state campaign by passing a Kansas City, KS, minimum wage increase in July 2008, matching the federal level. Organizers David Smith and Heidi Zeller observe:
"We raised public awareness of the issue, and won support, in all three of our campaign cities (Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City Kansas). And winning unanimous support for a minimum wage hike in Kansas City Kansas last July was a wonderful and essential breakthrough. Once that was achieved, the dynamism of the campaign was clearly established."