Demonstration Planned In Support of Minimum Wage Increase

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(Press Release by Alex Stroda) Tuesday, November 1st at 4:30p Ottumwa’s Citizen’s Against Poverty will hold a public demonstration in support of the Wapello County minimum wage increase at the Ottumwa City Hall.

The Ottumwa City Council states in the published agenda for the November 1st City Council meeting their intent to lower the minimum wage in Ottumwa. The wording suggests that they believe they will be ‘opting out’ of the minimum wage increase passed by the Wapello County Supervisors.

Mr. Stroda said, “The fundamental misunderstanding the Ottumwa City Council has of Iowa State law is worrying. A municipality can’t ‘opt out’ of a county ordinance. They can only pass a new ordinance. That means that Marc Roe and Bob Meyers, two City Councilors I spoke to today, want to lower the minimum wage for the most vulnerable Ottumwans.”

Ottumwa’s chapter of Citizens Against Poverty (OCAP) supports the minimum wage increase passed by the Wapello County Supervisors. The United Way ALICE report found that a wage of $8.45 an hour was necessary to meet the minimum expenses of life for 2016 in Wapello County. The Iowa Policy Project found that a wage of $9.60 an hour was necessary to meet the minimum expenses of life for 2016 in Wapello County. The current wage of $7.25 an hour is not enough to meet even the minimum needs of Ottumwa’s citizens.

Paul Munley, member of the Wapello County Progressives, while speaking at a Wapello County Supervisor’s meeting stated, “An hourly wage of $9.60 isn’t enough. People get sick, miss work, and when you work a minimum wage job you don’t get paid and you don’t get sick time. If your car breaks down $9.60 an hour doesn’t let you fix it. It’s not enough just to live. People need the chance to improve their lives and they can’t do that at $9.60, let alone $7.25.”

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