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Last updated 12:07AM ET
March 9, 2021
Groups Rally to Raise Minimum Wage
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Groups representing the poor and union workers rallied on the Statehouse steps Tuesday in support of legislation that would raise the minimum wage in Alabama to seven dollars and 25 cents an hour over the next two years.

The legislation's sponsor, state Representative Patricia Todd, says Congress hasn't raised the national minimum wage of five dollars and 15 cents an hour in a decade. She says it's time for the Alabama Legislature to give working people a raise.

About 50 people attended the rally in Montgomery -- many of them union members who earn far above the minimum wage. Stewart Burkhalter, who's president of the Alabama AFL-CIO, says his members showed up to support people on the bottom of the pay scale.

Todd's bill is scheduled for consideration today by the House Commerce Committee. The freshman lawmaker urged about 50 supporters at the rally to call legislators about the bill, but Burkhalter said later it will be an uphill fight.

Research by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington estimates that 126-thousand Alabama workers, or more than six percent of the state's work force, make less than seven dollars and 25 cents per hour. They would directly benefit from Todd's bill.

Traditionally, when the minimum wage goes up, those making slightly above the minimum wage also see a pay hike. The institute says the spillover effect should boost the bill's total impact to 350-thousand Alabama workers.

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