The House Labor Committee held a hearing Tuesday on HB 1403, which would re-establish the state’s minimum wage and set it at $8.25 an hour. The hearing was preceded by a press conference with members of the Raise the Wage coalition, and SEA President Diana Lacey was one of many to speak.
Lacey quoted Nelson Mandela, saying it’s time to free our people from the prison of poverty. She said as one of the wealthiest states in the nation, we must do our part to lift working people out of poverty.
“Passage of this minimum wage bill is an important start,” she said. “This is the right bill, at the right time. In lifting up our workers, we will lift up all of New Hampshire. Doing so is an act of justice, and a path to freedom.”
Marcie Nolet, an SEA member who works for Employment Security, testified in favor of the bill during the hearing. Nolet, who is a member of the New Hampshire’s Emerging Workforce Committee, said while she makes more than the minimum wage, she knows many who don’t.
“I could go home and not worry about the plight of others, but that would be the wrong thing to do,” Nolet said. “I, along with other citizens in New Hampshire, need to have an economic consciousness and fight for those who are fighting to stay afloat in this period of economic downturn.”
“NH’s motto is Live Free or Die, but it should not be at the expense of NH workers,” she said. “There is something really wrong with the system if those that work full-time still qualify for many state assistive services.”
We’ll keep you updated on the progress of this bill, but in the meantime you can read more about it, and sign a petition in support of it, at www.seiu1984.org/raise-the-wage/. You can also let your state representative know you want to Raise the Wage.