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Ear to the Ground

The Fight for a Living Wage

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Posted on Jan 16, 2006
Name: Manuela Soto. Marital status: single mom.
Alessandra Petlin / The New York Times

Name: Manuela Soto.
Marital status: single mom.
Occupation: Assistant hotel housekeeper.
Home: Santa Fe, N.M.
Hourly wage before local “living wage” ordinance: $7.50.
Hourly wage now: $9.50.
What she’ll do with raise: pay bills faster, offset higher gas prices, buy more supplies for sons.

“You know what the message is when they give you minimum wage?” asked comedian Chris Rock. “What they’re really saying is “If we could pay you less, we would.” It’s hardly a vote of confidence in the value of work. But this week’s NYT Magazine cover story explores a Santa Fe ordinance that raises minimum wage to $9.50 an hour. Will other cities follow suit?  And if they do, will a higher minimum wage hurt local economies or spur them forward? | story

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