If you believe as I do, that anyone who works 40 hours a week deserves a wage sufficient to provide a dry safe place to live and 3 meals a day, please Click Here to send Speaker Saiki an email, asking him to support an increase in Hawaii’s minimum wage.
Pandemic or no pandemic, minimum wage workers in 27 different states and dozens of cities and counties will be receiving a raise this year, AND many require automatic annual adjustments tied to the cost of living.
But here in Hawaii, unless House Speaker Scott Saiki takes action soon, our frontline workers will get nothing and remain stuck at $10.10 per hour in a state where it costs $17 simply to survive.
Despite having a legislature dominated by Democrats, and a Democratic Party that has made increasing the minimum wage a top priority, Hawaii’s legislative leadership has refused to give minimum wage workers any raise at all.
$17 per hour by 2026, with annual cost of living increases, should be our target.
In 2019, Governor Ige publicly supported a $15 minimum wage. The Hawaii Senate actually passed such a bill that was subsequently gutted by the House and killed in Conference Committee. Standing in the way of its passage seems always to be the House.
Thus, if a minimum wage increase is to occur in 2021 it must have the support of Speaker of the House, Scott Saiki.
Speaker Saiki and his leadership team tightly control everything in the Hawaii State House of Representatives; every committee assignment, every bill that gets scheduled for a hearing, and whether or not a bill ever goes to a floor vote. He even controls who gets what office and parking space.
If Speaker Saiki wants to pass a bill increasing Hawaii’s minimum wage, it will happen. If he opposes an increase, then no increase will be passed and frontline workers will get nothing.
While he will publicly demur and say that he only expresses the will of the “majority” – that is shibai. The “House majority” has repeatedly indicated their strong support for at least a $15 minimum wage. Clearly, either the Speaker or the “majority” is being less than forthright when expressing their intentions.
Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the entire United States. The pandemic has exposed more than ever before the injustice put upon our most essential workers who are paid the equivalent of starvation wages.
The reality of any wage increase passed by the legislature in 2021 is that it would not likely go into effect until 2022, and be phased in slowly over a 4 or 5 year time period.
To those who claim economic calamity will occur if the minimum wage is increased, the historical evidence and research indicate this is absolutely not the case. Read this excellent Hawaii report. And from a federal perspective here is additional comprehensive easy to read information.
It’s important. Please email today and before January 22 if possible. Click here to send Speaker Saiki an email, and if you are a minimum wage worker or earn less than $15 per hour, please tell your story about why increasing the minimum wage is important to you.
Mahalo to all for taking the time to take action on this very important issue.