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Floridians push to raise federal minimum wage

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By Stephanie Carroll Carson
Florida news Connection

MIAMI - Hundreds of people will converge Tuesday on Miami's Bayfront Park to voice their support for a new push in Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. The current rate is $7.67 an hour in Florida - but if it had kept pace with inflation, the minimum wage would have topped $10 an hour. Eric Brakken, Florida director of the labor union 32-BJ SEIU, says it's time for America's politicians to pay attention, particularly in an election year. "You come and ask for our vote in this hard economic time, you've got to be bringing solutions to rebuild the middle class. Core to that is raising the minimum wage. "Brakken says raising the minimum wage to $10 would put an average of $100 more in the pockets of hourly-wage workers every week. The minimum wage has been raised three times in the past 30 years, while executive pay by large firms increased by 23 percent last year, according to Equilar, a company that compiles executive-compensation data. Brakken points out that money earned by America's blue-collar workers is almost immediately reinvested in the economy. "When a low-wage worker gets a raise, they don't put their money into offshore bank accounts. They go out and pay rent. They go out and buy food. They go out and take their kids to the doctor. "Tuesday's rally will take place in the heart of Miami's financial district, and is one of dozens scheduled around the nation.The most recent bill to raise the minimum wage, HR 5901, was introduced last month. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., is a co-sponsor. More information about the bill is online at thomas.loc.gov.