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New Year Pay Increase For Minimum Wage Workers

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David Sutta joined the CBS4 news team in April of 2007. As S...
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Minimum wage workers have something to smile about in the New Year, a pay increase.  The increase will benefit an estimated 416,000 low-wage workers in Florida, boosting their pay rate by 14 cents an hour.

Rebecca Rincon welcomed the news.  “It’s struggling everywhere.  We maintain.  Everybody maintains.  Everybody tries. We do the best we can,” she said.  When learning it was 14 cents she replied, “Well, I wish it was more, but I’ll deal with that.”

In Florida, the minimum wage is going up to $7.93.  That’s 14 cents more an hour or about $5.60 a paycheck.  Jenny Padron, who makes a little more than minimum wage, believed it was something beneficial. “It gets you more gallons of milk for your kid, an extra tank of gas,” Padron said.  Brittany Brazil, a nurse who makes three times the minimum wage believed the high would help struggling family members.  “Financially it’s very hard for us at this time.  So that would help a lot,” Brazil said.

Most people CBS4 reporter David Sutta met Wednesday didn’t even know about the raise, but they were happy to hear about it.  “There are places that have it worse and there are people who have it worse.  So take what you can get in this life,” said Steven Ulysses, a college student who’s working a minimum wage job to get by.

Florida State senator Dwight Bullard doesn’t think the 14 cent raise cuts it.  “We are one of the states with the largest income equality gaps in the country,” Senator Bullard said.  He is sponsoring legislation this spring for a huge pay boost.  “I would love to see Florida at $10.10.  The Federal Government talked about moving the minimum wage to $10.10 and we should be proactive in the response to that,” he explained.

With many Florida businesses opposing the measure, it will be an uphill battle.

Bullard is hoping he can convince fellow legislators though we’re already paying for the raises.  “One argues that if you increase the minimum wage that it will be passed onto the consumers.  Well at the same time it’s kept low you see more folks that are applying for WIC or SNAP or subsidized housing.  And those are all things that we as Americans pay for anyway.  So it’s really like a double whammy,” said Bullard.

The double whammy for Rebecca is that she could use a raise or a steady paycheck for that matter.  “Just to get a job is a challenge.  It’s hard getting work period.”  Rincon said.  She starts off the year with hope for a job and that raise.  She smiled and said, “Hopefully, a better change for 2014.”

The highest minimum wage in the United States is Washington State at $9.19.

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