Although a coalition of labor groups worked vigorously, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development rejected their claims. The groups had filed wage claims, alleging claiming that the state minimum wage is too low to provide a supportable wage.
In support of their claims, the labor groups relied on a rarely-cited statute that requires the governor to ensure that the minimum wage in Wisconsin is a living wage. This specific term means compensation that enables employees to maintain themselves under conditions that are consistent with their welfare. The complaints were filed at the end of September. The executive director of Wisconsin Jobs Now says that there are many individuals who struggle to get by with the current minimum wage, set at $7.25 per hour.
The Department of Workforce Development said that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the existing minimum wage is not a living wage. The governor has continuously opposed increasing the minimum wage on both the state and national levels, saying that such a course of action would reduce the quantity of jobs that are available and that would quickly stop the economic recovery in the state. The executive director of Wisconsin Jobs Now says that it is disrespectful that the department dismissed the complaints without taking any testimony, holding a hearing or otherwise following up with the complaints. However, she said that workers in the state will continue their fight and may consider taking legal action.
Individuals who believe that their rights as employees have been violated may decide to pursue legal action. An employment law attorney can inform affected workers of laws that may relate to their case and provide guidance regarding the rights to which they are entitled.
Source: Wisconsin Radio Network, “Wisconsin DWD rejects living wage complaints“, Andrew Beckett, October 07, 2014