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Ralph Nader > Uncategorized > Letter to Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, on the Minimum Wage

Dear Richard,

Notwithstanding the efforts of non-profit groups, including ours, reporters in the mainstream press have indicated they do not think this is a serious beat without you, Obama, Pelosi and Reid exerting serious efforts. Such is their top down mentality – instead of reporting and giving voice to the 30 million workers in the U.S. making less today than workers made in 1968, inflation adjusted (see

The approaching Labor Day (September 2nd) gives the AFL-CIO an opportunity for serious exertions – strong rallies, including before the White House, Congress and in San Francisco (Miller, Pelosi), Rose Ann’s backyard, for starters.
Further, all the Sunday shows the day before Labor Day should feature labor leaders and the minimum wage, trade etc. themes.

This is Labor’s Day and is too often passed by without strong but modest equal time demands to get on these shows. The shows’ producers have not been known to take the initiative themselves and their excuses for not doing so have been weak.
Further, get your friend, Obama to punctuate at least a $10.50 minimum wage (he won’t go higher) to catch up with 1968, inflation adjusted, in his Labor Day address.

All the above recognizes the good rhetoric and some activities of organized labor on this mandatory raise in the minimum wage (in contrast to current “private sector” demands on Big Box Companies by street demonstrations). But we know the difference between serious intensity, with what Damon Silver once called “real resources,” and what has been going on in the area of pressing for governmental mandates. Certainly the reporters do!

Best wishes,

Ralph Nader