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Minimum Wage Advocates Highlight Low-Wage Worker Issues

SHERWOOD, AR -- Supporters of raising the minimum wage expect to learn this week if a ballot measure will make it to voters in November.
SHERWOOD, AR -- Supporters of raising the minimum wage expect to learn this week if a ballot measure will make it to voters in November.

They say Labor Day is a perfect time to highlight the issues faced by low-wage earners, gathering at an AFL-CIO event in Sherwood to discuss the plight of Arkansas' lower-paid employees.

"If we raise the minimum wage, it's good for people," David Couch, an attorney supporting a minimum wage hike. "If you work 40 hours a week, you should be able to put a roof over your head and food on your table."

Give Arkansas a Raise Now delivered almost 70,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's Office.

For Couch and fellow advocates, it's "not a partisan issue." Couch is a part of a multi-group grassroots effort to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.50 in 3 years.

The state's minimum wage is lower than the federal wage -- which supersedes the state wage.

While other states have higher wages, Couch acknowledges that raising it to the par of cities like Seattle -- with a proposed increase to $15 an hour -- would not be likely in Arkansas.

"Given the economy in Arkansas, the $15 minimum wage is probably not realistic," Couch said. "Because in this state, then it would really harm small businesses."
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