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Senator Mia McLeod Renews Commitment to $15 Minimum Wage

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State Senator Mia McLeod, candidate for Governor of South Carolina, gave the following statement regarding the minimum wage in South Carolina: 

“South Carolina doesn’t just need a living wage, we need a thriving wage. We should commit to raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour, but as our economy changes, so should the minimum wage. That’s why I introduced a bill that would adjust the minimum wage by the rate of inflation annually.  If the pandemic taught us anything it’s that our economy can change from year to year, so the minimum wage should be able to keep pace with rising costs of living.

South Carolina’s minimum wage hasn’t changed since 2009, when it increased to $7.25. For too many South Carolinians, working a full-time 40-hour week at minimum wage means not being able to afford even a 2-bedroom rental–proof that living in a “right to work” state basically means employers’ rights trump those of employees. Affordable Housing should be attainable for working people in SC, but too often it isn’t.

We all have a part to play in fueling an economy that honors the work and dignity of our citizens.

I introduced a bill that would put the power in the hands of the people.  If passed, South Carolina voters would have the opportunity to support a $15 minimum wage in a referendum.  I trust our people.  Every day I hear from constituents who are struggling to get by, despite working full time hours and too often, multiple jobs.  This is not a partisan issue. In fact, I am the co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill that would bring Equal Pay to South Carolina. Newsflash– the minimum wage isn’t the only issue that impacts a worker’s ability to fully participate in the economy. We must raise the minimum wage, yes, but we must also reform unemployment benefits, prevent employer retaliation, and affirm the power of working people.

We should trust South Carolinians to make their own decisions about whether a collective bargaining process will significantly increase their wages and improve their working conditions. While our current governor demonizes and vilifies labor unions, working people across our state continue to struggle to live on $7.25 per hour and between $42 and $326 per week in unemployment benefits.

We can support our economy by helping our workers thrive and a $15 minimum wage is just the beginning.”

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