U.S. Labor Secretary Touts Minimum Wage Increase in Hartford

Feb 25, 2014

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, at right, with Bridgeport business owner Douglas Wade, left, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Credit Skyler Magnoli

A top Obama cabinet member was in Hartford on Monday advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez joined with Connecticut's two U.S. Senators for a round table at the Hartford Public Library. 

"The federal wage should be the floor."
Sec. Thomas Perez

The administration is pushing for a federal minimum wage of $10.10 an hour, the same goal that Governor Dannel Malloy announced earlier this year. After his press conference, Perez spoke on WNPR's Where We Live with John Dankosky. "We were here today to listen directly to businesses and to low wage workers," Perez said, "to talk about the need for Americans to get a raise. Connecticut has so many remarkable people who are working hard, but are falling behind, because $7.25 just doesn’t get you very far."

Perez said the federal and state governments have always had "a remarkable synergy" on setting wages, but he called the federal effort on minimum wage critically important. "The federal wage should be the floor," he said, citing President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 establishing a minimum wage for the first time.

"States have always been permitted to go above that -- Connecticut has," Perez said. "That is a reflection, in no small measure, of the leadership of Governor Malloy and so many others in the state senate."

Listen to an extended audio version of WNPR's interview with Perez below: