A public opinion poll shows broad support for raising the minimum wage in Wisconsin, and protesters ask the Milwaukee County executive not to veto a recently-passed living wage rule.
About 50 people gathered Thursday evening outside the mansion of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, chanting: “Abele, Abele, he's the worst / he puts corporate interests first.”
The protesters, organized by Wisconsin Jobs Now, are trying to discourage the county executive from vetoing a living wage ordinance that would make the county and county contractors pay workers at least $11.33 an hour.
Supporters of the ordinance say they think the Milwaukee County board would override any veto, but want Abele, himself a multimillionaire, to better consider the needs of low-wage employees.
Earlier in the day, a UW-Milwaukee poll showed 77 percent of state residents support some hike in the minimum wage , and 57 percent back raising the number to $10.10 an hour.
Jennifer Epps-Addison of Wisconsin Jobs Now says whether it's a living wage or minimum wage, there's wide support for an increase.
“From the president to the pope, we've heard from our leaders that economic inequality is the defining issue of our time,” she said. “We certainly support all policies that are going to raise up working families and ensure they have enough to survive and live independently.”
The new poll on the minimum wage doesn't sway Governor Scott Walker.
“You can mandate whatever you want, but if people aren't creating jobs, it doesn't do much good for anybody out there,” Walker said.
“My focus isn't on mandating what the amount of the wage is. My goal is to help employers create jobs at a much higher volume, and the types of jobs we've been focusing in on — have been for the last three years — are jobs that far exceed, and in many cases are twice or more than the proposed increase in the minimum wage,” he continued.
Advocates for hiking the minimum wage say they're disappointed in the governor's position.