(NNPA)—There has arisen a peculiar phenomenon over the past seven years. Conservative legislatures in states such as Florida and Wisconsin have passed statutes that limit the ability of cities and counties to raise minimum wages and pass other legislation to advance the interests of workers. This has become part of a well-oiled operation by the political Right to restrict the ability of working people to improve their living standards.
This effort has emerged in response to increasing demands around the U.S. for raising minimum wages, including the achievement of what is frequently referenced as a “livable wage.” Given gridlock in Congress and the unwillingness of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives to do anything about the declining living standard of U.S. workers, many labor unions and other worker organizations have turned their attention to the fight at the state, county and municipal levels. Locally-based campaigns have been conducted, and frequently won, improvements in minimum wages and other employment standards. Most recently strikes have been carried out by many fast-food workers demanding increases in their salaries.