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Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

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Let's talk...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wisconsin Democratic State Representative Nick Milroy talks out of both sides of his mouth

Note: Wisconsin Democrats are pushing to increase the Minimum Wage from $7.25 an hour to $7.60 and hour. A whopping big "increase" of thirty-five cents an hour. Pathetic.

Superior Telegram and Forum Communications Company

1226 Ogden Ave. Ste. 1
Superior, Wisconsin 54880
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Letter to the Editor submitted exclusively for publication to the Superior Telegram in response to Wisconsin Democratic State Representative Nick Milroy (see Milroy's letter below).

Wisconsin State Representative Nick Milroy wrote we need a living wage. I agree.

But if Representative Milroy believes we need a real living wage, why is he advocating a Minimum Wage that is still a poverty wage? In fact, Representative Milroy is proposing a pathetic miserly “increase” in the Minimum Wage.

Representative Milroy would like us to believe the Republicans are responsible for the present miserly Minimum Wage of $7.25 an hour.

However, President Obama had a super-majority of Democrats when he first entered office and this Democratic super-majority never raised the Minimum Wage to a real living wage.

In Minnesota, Democrats have a super-majority; and, like Representative Milroy, these Democrats mouth the words “living wage;” but, not only did they not use their super-majority to raise the Minimum Wage a plug nickle, they now call for a Minimum Wage “increase”which is another poverty wage.

Why this hypocrisy between political rhetoric for votes and actual legislation?

Any school child understands that if you pay a working man or working woman a poverty wage they are going to be poor.

The Minimum Wage should be a real living wage which means it needs to be legislatively tied to all cost-of-living factors tracked and monitored by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, indexed for inflation and then periodically increased to provide an improved standard-of-living.

In addition, as Representative Milroy is aware, most Minimum Wage workers do not work a 40 hour week. So, a real living hourly Minimum Wage is still not the complete answer.

What we need, in addition to the Minimum Wage being a real living wage, is a guaranteed annual income based on the same cost-of-living factors for every working class family.

Of course, with the huge number of working people unemployed in this country right now the real solution is jobs. But, if these jobs don't pay real living wages what good is a job? Most people work so they won't be poor.

The politicians--- from both parties--- talk about “jobs, jobs, jobs” then refuse to take it upon themselves to be responsible for full employment in the same way they hypocritically talk about living wages; and, then, legislate poverty wages, again. And so this cycle continues and everyone wonders why there is poverty in the midst of such tremendous wealth in the richest country in the world.

And if all this isn't bad enough, both parties continue to squander the wealth of our Nation on these dirty wars killing our jobs the same way they kill people. We need to create tens of millions of jobs to put America to work. How do we create jobs when we are wasting all this money on wars?

Thanks to Democrats like Representative Milroy who takes campaign contributions from the managements of the Indian Gaming Industry in return for forcing tens of thousands of Wisconsin workers into jobs in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws, we are having one heck of a time trying to organize workers employed at the Bad River Lodge, Casino and Convention Center.

With the miserly Minimum Wage of $7.60 an hour being proposed by Democratic State Representative Nick Milroy, and opposed by Republicans, a working man or working woman would have to work three 40 hour a week jobs and they would still be living on the edge of poverty.

What we need is a huge working class movement like the one which forced President Roosevelt to enact Minimum Wage legislation in the first place. From this movement will come working class politicians. We need a new working class based progressive people's party if we are going to turn this country around.

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell: 651-587-5541

Primary E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net


The Letter to the Editor I responded to:
Superior Telegram and Forum Communications Company

1226 Ogden Ave. Ste. 1
Superior, Wisconsin 54880
Call us at
(715) 395-5000


Letters to the Editor - Superior Telegram | Superior, Wisconsin

Include a name, address and telephone number for verification purposes, and a handwritten ... E-mail submissions to: editorial@superiortelegram.com

(565 words)

Wisconsin workers need living wages

Posted on Dec 12, 2013 at 4:27pm

Rep. Nick Milroy
In Wisconsin, we know if you want to get ahead you have to work hard. Yet there are hardworking individuals in our state, working full-time and making minimum wage, who are unable to cover basic living expenses.

The minimum wage in Wisconsin is not a living wage. An individual who works full-time making the current minimum wage of $7.25, brings in less than $300 a week or approximately $15,000 a year.

This is $7,000 below the poverty rate for a family of four. In the land of opportunity, it is unacceptable that a person working full-time cannot support their family.

In January of this year, I joined my Democratic colleagues from across the state to sponsor Senate Bill 4 to increase the minimum wage to $7.60 an hour and index it to inflation.

To date the chairpersons of the Assembly and Senate Labor Committees have refused to hold a public hearing to give the citizens of Wisconsin a say on this important issue.

This week we are reminding these chairpersons of the importance of raising the minimum wage and asking them to hold a public hearing.

Raising the minimum wage to $7.60 an hour would benefit more than 300,000 workers statewide.

If the minimum wage had been indexed to inflation in 1968, it would be $10.40 today.

Most people think of minimum wage jobs are filled by teenagers. In fact, more than 80 percent of minimum wage workers in Wisconsin are over 20-years-old, a fourth of them have children and a third are married.

Nationally, more than 40 percent of minimum wage workers have higher than a high school education.

Research shows an overwhelming number of employers of low-wage workers are extremely profitable corporations with large numbers of employed workers. Even as corporate profits reach historic highs the wages and benefits of workers has stagnated.

Raising the minimum wage helps build a strong economy for everyone, not just the richest one percent of our state. Paying workers a living wage enables them to cover basic living expenses without relying on public assistance and food pantries. Costco, the second largest retailer in the U.S. after Walmart, is often cited as an example of a tremendously successful company that pays its workers an average of $20.89 per hour.

Since the minimum wage was enacted in 1938, opponents have argued it will hurt businesses and force them to lay off employees.

In fact, studies have shown that raising the minimum wage makes it easier for employers to recruit and retain workers, and it contributes to consumer demand. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, for every dollar increase that a minimum wage worker receives their annual household spending increases by $3,500.

When workers are paid a living wage, the benefits are felt throughout our society. Families have greater economic security, there is less reliance on public assistance and new consumer spending to boost the economy.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s words in 1937 still hold true today: “Our nation so richly endowed with natural resources and with a capable and industrious population should be able to devise ways and means of insuring to all our able-bodied working men and women a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, represents the 73rd Assembly District in the Wisconsin Legislature.

Madison Office
Room 11 West
State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-0640
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Voting Address
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South Range, WI 54874