Well, here’s an interesting new tactic.
A group of low-wage workers hopes to use an obscure 101-year-old state law to force Wisconsin to boost its $7.25-an-hour minimum wage.
On Wednesday, Wisconsin Jobs Now plans to present petitions from about 75 workers who say they are paid wages that are not self-supporting. The group said that violates a state law dating back to 1913 requiring that the minimum wage in the state “shall not be less than a living wage.”
The “living wage” law, which Rickman said is unique to Wisconsin, requires the Department of Workforce Development, after receiving a “verified complaint,” to investigate and determine within 20 days “whether there is a reasonable cause to believe that the wage paid to any employee is not a living wage.” The law further defines a living wage as one needed to maintain “minimum comfort, decency, physical and moral well-being.”
This won’t go anywhere, but it is an interesting way to go about it. It is also a good reminder that it is as important, if not more so, to remove old laws as it is to pass new ones.