SB676 increasing the minimum wage to $12 has passed out of the Senate and is now awaiting a hearing by Representative Richard Onishi, Chair of the House Labor and Tourism Committee.
Unfortunately, it appears that House Speaker Scott Saiki is going to refuse to even allow a vote on SB676.
As further evidence of Speaker Saiki’s intent, Labor Chair Onishi has not scheduled a single House bill proposing to increase the minimum wage, refusing to even hold a public discussion on the issue.
A third key member of the Speaker’s team, Finance Chair Sylvia Luke has also weighed in opposing increasing the minimum wage saying, “it would be more rational for both the Senate and the House to take another look at it next year,” according to Civil Beat.
Not this year says Representative’s Luke, Saiki, and Onishi.
Yet all three will themselves be getting a pay raise this year.
SB676 proposes a modest increase in Hawaii’s minimum wage from $10.10 to $12 per hour that will not take effect until July of 2022.
So when Representative’s Luke, Saiki, and Onishi say “not this year” they are really saying not next year either. It’s important to note, that they also said “not this year” in 2019 and in 2020.
Yet all three, and the entire legislature will be getting a pay-raise this year – a 10% increase, over $6,000 per year or about $3.00 per hour effective July of this year. Then in 2024, they are slated to get still another $3.00 per hour increase.
The State Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) has determined, (https://files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/self-sufficiency/self-sufficiency_2018.pdf) “A single adult with no children needed to earn an hourly wage of $17.21 in 2018 to be able to meet his/her basic needs and to be economically self-sufficient.”
Yet “Hawaii’s House Leadership” has determined that $10.10 is good enough for 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. President Biden, every member of the Hawaii Congressional delegation and almost every single Democrat in the U.S. Congress is fighting for a national $15 minimum wage, and yet Hawaii’s overwhelmingly Democratically controlled State House (47 Democrats to 4 Republicans) year after year, tell our workers to eat cake at $10.10.
Pandemic or no pandemic – 26 other states are increasing their minimum wage this year. Hawaii needs to be #27.
If you are as angry as I am about this, I hope you will join me in calling out the hypocrisy and injustice of it all.
Please send a message asap, today if possible to Speaker Saiki, Committee Chair Onishi, and Finance Chair Luke. Ask them with “one-click” to schedule a hearing for SB676 and increase Hawaii’s minimum wage to at least $12 in 2022 and include further incremental increases to achieve $17 by 2026.
Even if you have already sent an email in the past, please take this action again today and ensure they get the message. Yes – please send them another message today.
Thank you for taking the time to stand up and be counted.