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Minimum wage debate heats up in Wisconsin

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MADISON (WITI) -- A national debate over the minimum wage started a year ago when President Obama called for an increase to $9 an hour in his State of the Union speech -- but with the fighting over sequesters and shutdowns, the issue gained little traction in Congress.

The issue has played out state to state as fast food and other low-wage workers have staged protests for higher wages. Now the debate over Wisconsin's minimum wage is heating up. Governor Scott Walker is coming out against an increase while democrats are proposing a bill to raise wages.

"People can't survive on the minimum wage in Wisconsin under Walker's leadership," said Mike Tate, Chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party. "He's out hobnobbing with CEO's. He's not worrying about what the average Wisconsin family is going through, when they're sitting down at the kitchen table saying which bill can we afford to pay this month, and which one can't we? Because we're not making enough money and the jobs that we need to be here aren't here."

Governor Walker said, "I'm focused on jobs, I'm not focused on political stunts. That's what Mike Tate and others are focused on -- getting headlines. I'm focused on helping people get jobs that pay far more than the minimum wage."

Democratic Representative Cory Mason of Racine proposed a new bill that would raise Wisconsin's minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

"What we're saying is work is worth some dignity," said Rep. Mason. "You shouldn't be below poverty if you're working full-time, year-round."

"You don't get that by forcing businesses to drive out young workers like I was when I started out as a kid at McDonald's," said Gov. Walker. "You do that by creating jobs in manufacturing and health care and information technology -- jobs that will pay far and above what the minimum wage is and even what some are proposing."

Wisconsin's minimum wage is set at the federal level and has not been raised since 2009.


  • terry partipilo

    It would be great to have an increase in the wage,but they’ll just raise the price of everything. They do not care about anyone but themselves.that man needs to go,he’s done nothing for this state.

    • Jaime

      I agree mininum wage should be increase no one working at 7.25 hr has it easy especially when gas prices are about half of mininum wage you expect to pay rent buy food and fill up your car and if you have kids you really dont have a choice but to get to jobs and even that is not enough .Gov Scott walker has done nothing for Wisconsin i moved here from California because Wisconsin was richer and way much better economy when i got here 4 years ago gas was at 2.25 while california had it almost at $5 but now seems like wisconsin going to become next california hope some can do something about this situation

      • Alison

        You cannot support a family on minimum wage. If you have a family you should try to get a better job, but that is getting harder and harder these days. They should stagger minimum wage by age and or experience. I am a seventeen year old and I personally do not think that all kids my age deserve getting paid 10.10 an hour.

  • Tim

    Scott Walker has a high school diploma. ONLY a high school diploma. He holds the academic credentials for a minimum wage job, yet somehow finds it appropriate to lecture the rest of us on how unskilled and lazy WE are. You are a joke Scott Walker, and the people of WI are forced to entrust our state with a slimy, smug imbecile who completed the 12th grade. Go to Washington for 2016 PLEASE! I’d pay (minimum wage only of course) to watch you attempt to debate with the grown ups.

    • Michelle Waldron

      It is learning through actual work. You do not have to go to college to move up in the world but you do have to strive to be better and want better for yourself. Ambition and motivation carry a lot of weight. Real life job training and working your way up….smh at the whole comment.I didn’t go to college and I have 2 different set of job skills so that I will never have a problem getting a job and I have the ability to move up in my career always!

    • Teri

      Tim, I ONLY have a high school diploma, yet I have managed to work my way up to a respectable position at my own company thru hard work and perseverance! That’s what this country was built on. You can have lots of education, or little education, but it’s what you actually do with your abilities that matters. I operate by common sense and instinct, changing my path as needed. People like me are survivors and we don’t want government handouts or government control. I’m not rich, I work blue collar and get dirty every day. I rely on me for survival and only spend what I make. If everyone had that same philosophy, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now! Walker has my approval!

  • Matt

    People always complain about citizens on “welfare”…if you pay somebody above the poverty level, the don’t need public assistance. The prices won’t go up on everything. The prices have gone up on everything making everything to expensive for people making minimum wage.

  • nancy brieske

    I have worked 25 years in the medical field. Making $65, 000.00 a year before I got laid off. Been out of work work for 3 years…finally got a job with a temp agency. Making $8.25 a hour…that is, when, they have work for me to do. I am grateful for what I have now. But, I hear the stories from people at work…that have been working there for awhile. That, they can hardly survive on what they make. They are raising families. These people are harding working…some of them have degree’s. But, one thing, ..I always see them smile and laugh. These people, work with customers and make their day enjoyable and the customers day enjoyable. So, these people are my freinds. These people, I have more respect than people making $65, 000.00 a year. So, Walker get your act together…take care of my freinds. Believe it or not …the people who barely make any money are the hardest workers and the most trustworthy people would every meet.

    • Teri

      Nancy, did you start off making $65,000 a year? Probably not. You got there by continuing your education and working minimum wage jobs to get you thru school? (unless your parents were able to help you) You worked your way up the ladder, it wasn’t handed to you. The problem with many people these days is that they want the handout and don’t have the motivation to better themselves. Many smoke, drink and get the biggest TV package available, then whine because they can’t pay the bills. I don’t feel sorry for them. Those are the type of people that are making this state and country’s economy sick at epidemic proportions!! If the slackers actually went out and pulled their own weight, the burden on the rest of us would be less, the economy would benefit and there would be less hard working poor. Nancy, I’m not saying your hardworking friends are the slackers, but it’s the slackers that hurt it for everyone. Walker is on the right track.

    • Teri

      The speech was decades ago, obviously before the Unions and Collective bargaining was so badly abused. Unions started off with the right idea and helped tremendously, but it slowly morphed into the out of control monster it is today. The whole purpose has changed, and that’s the problem.

      • sandman54862

        We need American not russian Koch`s ideas from Fred Koch working with Josef stalin and slave labor. In a democracy we have rights. This i not a liberal or right wing issue. it is a democracy issue some thing Koch and the Tea Party are totally against. they do not believe in liberty and justice for like in Walkers Truth in sentencing. Voter suppression and free speech are from josef stalins Russia now Koch ideals..
        This is Reagans speech ; Collective bargaining in the years since has played a major role in America’s economic miracle. Unions represent some of the freest institutions in this land. There are few finer examples of participatory democracy to be found anywhere. Too often, discussion about the labor movement concentrates on disputes, corruption, and strikes. But while these things are headlines, there are thousands of good agreements reached and put into practice every year without a hitch.

        Part of successful collective bargaining is honest, straightforward exchanges. A number of Presidents have observed that of all the meetings in the Oval Office, the most direct, productive, and useful have been with the leaders of organized labor. Straight talk has always been a feature of these exchanges, and that’s a tradition I want to continue here today. You and I may not always agree, as President Konyha said, on everything, but we should always remember how much we have in common.

        I can guarantee you today that this administration will not fight inflation by attacking the sacred right of American workers to negotiate their wages. We propose to control government, not people. Now, today I want to express again my belief in our American system of collective bargaining and pledge that there will always be an open door to you in this administration.

        During my 8 years as Governor of California, I was proud of my relationship with organized labor. Yes, we had disagreements over such things as welfare reform and budget allocation, but we followed the advice of a one-time mayor of Boston who said, “We can disagree without being disagreeable.”

        Some people would have forgotten-except your president very graciously reminded you—that I am the first man to attain this high office who was formerly president of an AF of L-CIO union.
        Why do you hate our freedoms all you tea Party communist

      • sandman54862

        This was as presidaent. your ignorance says it is a long time ago. Your fox trotter ideals are never truth. reagan says all tea party members like walker are communist just like everyone American knows.

  • SmallTownSufferer

    I am currently a high school student in Wisconsin Rapis, Wisconsin and just turned 18. My parents divorced seven years ago and shortly after my mother was layed off from her job. She has been unemployed and in and out of schooling for the last 6 years. My dad doesnt make eough money to support me and my 3 siblings even with an 18 dollars an hour job. Because my mother struggled to get hired, paying water and heating bills wasn’t easily done. My siblings and I now have to live at my dads and he pays for all our expenses while my mother lives with my grandma in the winter and in our family camper in the summer. Every month it is a challege to decide which bills we can pay and which ones we have to go without paying. I myself am employed with a minimum wage summer job as well as a part time minimum wage job during the school years. I have lived in a camper and have ate what my communities food pantry donations to my mother when we don’t get enough money for normal food. Its hard to go through this as a teenager and I hate seeing my parents and everyone else struggle paying for food, bills, and living necessities. i’m not sure if increasing minimum wages is a probable solution to what ever you want to call this depression like nation but something needs to be done. My childhood was destroyed because I was forced to share my parents stress with making ends meet each week. I push myself to suceed in school so I can graduate from UW-Stevens Point with a degree that will never have me ask myself how I will get money to feed my children this week. If the government and authorities would see how actual families like mine live because of this economic disaster they might understand that there is a serious problem and it is destroying families every where. We need to persever, we need to make a change and helping everyone, rich or poor, is what will save this nation.

  • Chris Wozniak

    This is sad… I live off of what I make which is 7.65 an hour… I cant live off that, Im paying for school, living, food, and a car, I dont have the time to work full time, because I am a full time student I have too much debt already… If it was 8.50 even that will be fine, its sad to know that it takes me an hour of work to pay for the 1 meal I will eat when Im at work…

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