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President Barack Obama Weekly Address April 26, 2014 (Video/Trascript )
President Barack Obama
The White House
April 26, 2014
Hi, everybody. In my State of the Union Address, I talked
about pizza. More specifically, I talked about a pizza chain in
Minneapolis – Punch Pizza – whose owner, John Soranno, made the business
decision to give his employees a raise to ten bucks an hour.
A couple weeks ago, I got a letter from a small business
owner who watched that night. Yasmin Ibrahim is an immigrant who owns
her own restaurant – Desi Shack – and plans to open another this
Here’s what she wrote. “I was moved by John Soranno’s
story. It got me thinking about my … full-time employees and their
ability to survive on $8 an hour in New York City.” So a few weeks ago,
Yasmin put in place a plan to lift wages for her employees at both her
restaurants to at least $10 an hour by the end of this year.
But here’s the thing – Yasmin isn’t just raising her
employees’ wages because it’s the right thing to do. She’s doing it for
the same reason John Soranno did. It makes good business sense.
Yasmin wrote, “It will allow us to attract and retain
better talent – improving customer experience, reducing employee churn
and training costs. We believe doing so makes good business sense while
at the same time having a positive impact on the community.”
Yasmin's right. That’s why, two months ago, I issued an
Executive Order requiring workers on new federal contracts to be paid a
fair wage of at least ten dollars and ten cents an hour.
But in order to make a difference for every American,
Congress needs to do something. And America knows it. Right now,
there’s a bill that would boost America’s minimum wage to ten dollars
and ten cents an hour. That would lift wages for nearly 28 million
Americans across the country. 28 million. And we’re not just talking
about young people on their first job. The average minimum wage worker
is 35 years old. They work hard, often in physically demanding jobs.
And while not all of us always see eye to eye politically,
one thing we overwhelmingly agree on is that nobody who works full-time
should ever have to live in poverty. That’s why nearly three in four
Americans support raising the minimum wage. The problem is, Republicans
in Congress don’t support raising the minimum wage. Some even want to
get rid of it entirely. In Oklahoma, for example, the Republican
governor just signed a law prohibiting cities from establishing their
own minimum wage.
That’s why this fight is so important. That’s why people
like John and Yasmin are giving their workers a raise. That’s why
several states, counties, and cities are going around Congress to raise
their workers’ wages. That’s why I’ll keep up this fight. Because we
know that our economy works best when it works for all of us – not just a
fortunate few. We believe we do better when everyone who works hard
has a chance to get ahead. That’s what opportunity is all about.
And if you agree with us, we could use your help.
Republicans have voted more than 50 times to undermine or repeal health
care for millions of Americans. They should vote at least once to raise
the minimum wage for millions of working families. If a Republican in
Congress represents you, tell him or her it’s time to give the politics a
rest for a while and do something to help working Americans. It’s time
for “ten-ten.” It’s time to give America a raise.