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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Students, local activists rally to raise minimum wage

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Laura Porter

A crowd of city leaders, activists and students rallied outside the D.C. government building Tuesday, just before the D.C. Council unanimously voted to hike up the minimum wage to $11.50 over the next three years.

Members of GW’s Progressive Student Union joined several Council members on the steps of the Wilson Building to fight for what they call a long-fought battle for more fair wages in D.C. Dozens gathered around the entrance of the building, waving signs and chanting.

“It’s something that’s long overdue,” the group’s president Sam Nelson said. “We have a lot of low-wage workers in the city, we have a good amount of low-wage workers at GW. We’re out here showing as much support as we possibly can for this bill.”

Council member Vincent Orange, who was a lead supporter of the summer’s “living wage” bill, told rally participants to “hold all of us accountable.”

“It’s taken us a long time to get to this point,” Orange said. The living wage bill, which would have required large retailers to pay workers $12.50 an hour, was vetoed by Gray in September.

The Council’s decision to increase the minimum followed the steps of two neighboring counties, which is higher than any state in the U.S.

Montgomery and Prince George’s counties also passed bills last month to increase the minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017.

Mayor Vincent Gray said last week that he supported an increase to $10.

The Council will hold a final vote on the bill early next year before sending it to Gray for his approval. Gray reiterated his support of an increase to $10 in a letter to the Council Tuesday morning.

Minimum wage in the District is already a dollar above the nationwide minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but a March study by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute found that the income disparity in D.C. is the third highest in the nation. According to a September 2012 study, one in five D.C. residents – about 123,000 – live in poverty.

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