Labor official visits Phoenix to talk about minimum wage increase

Feb 28, 2014, 7:01 PM | Updated: 7:22 pm

PHOENIX — A top U.S. labor official visited Phoenix Friday for talks on increasing the minimum wage.

Wage and Hour Deputy Administrator Laura Fortman heard life stories from several minimum wage workers.

One of them is 20-year-old Hector Florez, of Phoenix. He still lives at home, but his parents are unemployed. His dad made $18 an hour as a construction worker until five years ago. He was fired after his employer did a check through the E-Verify system and found that he had a false Social Security card.

The family of seven lives on the money Florez earns from his $8.50-an-hour job at a Family Dollar store.

“I have to pay utilities and food,” Florez said. “Not having another job inside the house means that everything is on me.”

President Barack Obama said during his State of the Union speech that the minimum wage should be raised to $10.10 an hour, and Fortman agrees.

“Definitely!” she said. “Currently, if you’re working full time, you’re below the poverty level. It’s just not OK to be working full time, working hard and living in poverty in the United States.”

Fortman said she’s confident that raising the minimum wage would help the workers, even if stores and restaurants increase their prices to offset increased labor costs, which means the workers might have to pay more for basic necessities.

“People are able to get more security by having a little bit more income,” she said.

Fortman’s visit to Phoenix is part of a tour that also included stops in Las Vegas and Portland, Maine, within the past couple of weeks.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...
Torrence Dunham

Arizona lawmaker sends letters to AG, Scottsdale officials about Rio Verde Foothills water issue

An Arizona lawmaker this week sent letters to Attorney General Kris Mayes and Scottsdale officials in an ongoing attempt to help find a solution to water being cut off from residents of Rio Verde Foothills.
10 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Taste of the NFL)...
Alex Weiner

Taste of the NFL comes to Phoenix as Super Bowl’s largest culinary, philanthropic event

Taste of the NFL is an event ahead of the Super Bowl that will bring gourmet food, 30 chefs and live entertainment to the Valley on Feb. 11.
10 hours ago
John Mayer performs onstage during HFC's 10th Birthday Extravaganza hosted by Seth Rogen and Lauren...

John Mayer hits road on solo acoustic tour with spring stop in Phoenix

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter John Mayer is tuning up for his first solo acoustic tour, which will make a stop in Phoenix in the spring.
10 hours ago
(File Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Kevin Stone

Phoenix construction industry hungry for workers, experience not required

Direct experience isn't necessary to build a career in the local construction industry, which is dealing with a worker shortage.
10 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...

Phoenix water conservation program needs volunteers to work with community

A conservation program overseen by the city of Phoenix is looking for volunteers to help spread the word about smart water usage.
1 day ago
Students and teachers from East High School in Salt Lake City walk out of school to protest the HB1...
Associated Press

Pandemic restrictions, curriculum battles emboldened ‘school choice’ policy push

The debates have inflamed teachers’ unions and resurfaced concerns about efforts to gradually privatize public education.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Labor official visits Phoenix to talk about minimum wage increase