Ohio’s minimum wage increased to $7.95 on Jan. 1

On Jan. 1, workers covered under Ohio’s minimum wage law saw a ten cent increase in their hourly wage taking them to $7.95 an hour.

In 2006, on behalf of Ohio’s lowest wage earners, the Ohio AFL-CIO and the coalition Ohioans for a Fair Minimum Wage successfully placed the constitutional amendment on the ballot, which tied Ohio’s minimum wage rate to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The CPI increased 1.5 percent from Sept. 1, 2012 to Aug. 31, 2013.

“This is not nearly enough to achieve a livable wage for many workers but any and all upward pressure on wages is better than the stagnant wages we have seen,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga. “There is a direct economic benefit to the increase as these wage earners will spend directly into our communities and local economies,” he said.

“Too many workers, however, will still be forced to rely on taxpayer-funded public assistance programs because the wages they are paid are not enough to make ends meet,” Burga said. “Corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s enjoy record profits and their CEOs are paid obscenely large salaries ─ all while the workers at these companies suffer and Ohio’s taxpayers are squeezed,” Burga said.

According to a recent analysis by the Dayton Daily News, increased employee reliance on public assistance programs is especially acute in Ohio.

Originally passed as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the purpose of the minimum wage was to prevent market forces from driving down the wages of the lowest earners in the labor force.