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Indiana workers strike for higher wages

Striking workers in Indiana are asking for wage increases far higher than what has been proposed. They believe that at a rate of $7.25 per hour they are paid less than owed for their work. Fast food workers who staged a single-day strike are calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Currently, 18 states have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum, but even Washington, which has a $9.19 an hour minimum wage, doesn't even come close to what workers are asking for.

Indiana is one of 30 states that uses the federal minimum wage, but that number will drop to 29 when New York takes the first step towards creating a state minimum wage of $9 an hour. According to the Indiana Chamber president, states' minimum wages are generally divided by politics. Republican states usually stay at the federal minimum wage and believe that higher wages should be given to workers in positions that require greater skills. States that lean towards Democrats tend to be the ones that pass higher wage laws.

The opinion of the Indiana AFL-CIO president is that wages should be sufficient to keep individuals out of poverty. While the AFL-CIO president does not name a specific dollar amount, she feels that even Washington has not been able to keep its minimum wage in line with the purchasing needs of workers.

Employers are obligated to follow state and federal regulations for workers, and wages are no exception. If someone is not being paid what they are owed, they may have legal recourse. A lawyer could explain someone's rights and help them pursue compensation for unpaid work or overtime.

Source: WIBC, "Charting a Course on the Map of Minimum Wage Laws", Eric Berman, August 30, 2013

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