U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown wants the federal minimum wage increased to more than $10.00 per hour.
The federal minimum wage hasn't been raised since 2007 when it was increased to $7.25. Ohio's minimum wage is 60-cents higher than that, but U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown says it needs to be raised again.
"That's below the poverty level for anyone supporting themselves or supporting a family," Brown said.
Legislation he has co-sponsored would bump the federal minimum wage to $10.15 an hour in three steps and provide the first minimum wage increase to tipped employees in more than 20 years.
"Once this is fully implemented and it gets to $10.15 then it has a cost of living adjustment pegged to the CPI (Consumer Price Index) which is what we peg Social Security and veterans benefits to," he said.
Tipped workers would see their minimum wage tied to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage. Brown says it would give more than 30 million Americans a raise.
Workers who are paid a minimum wage in Ohio earn only $16,000 per year, which is more than $3,000 below the poverty level for a family of three. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would boost the minimum wage to $21,000.
According to the National Employment Law Project, the minimum wage has lost more than 30 percent over the last forty years. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be worth approximately $10.55 per hour today.
Brown thinks increasing the minimum wage would boost GDP by nearly $33 billion and generate 140,000 new jobs over the course of three years as workers spend their raises in their local businesses and communities.
Heather Ross, manager of Dempsey's Restaurant in downtown Columbus, says it's hard to make ends meet even though she's paid about $3 an hour higher than the minimum wage. She believes if workers make more money there won't be as much turnover.