Elections

Advocate Walks Back Support For The $21 Minimum Wage

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PHILADELPHIA — A leader of a group fighting to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, just denied her earlier support for an even higher increase while in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention.

The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) is one of many union-funded groups fighting for a $15 minimum wage. ROC Founder Saru Jayaraman was caught on camera April 28 telling supporters they should actually be fighting for $21 an hour. She denied her earlier comment Monday in a video provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The fact that ROC founder Saru Jayaraman would immediately deny what we recorded her saying on video just weeks ago shows how nervous far-left labor activists are to have their true objectives revealed,” America Rising Squared Communications Director Jeremy Adler told TheDCNF. “[It] would put the U.S. restaurant industry and the millions of jobs it supports out of business.”

America Rising first uncovered the video, which was taken during a meeting between Jayaraman and Democratic delegates. Philadelphia has been covered in party delegates from every states because of the Democratic National Convention. America Rising has been highly critical of how advocates push for the $15 minimum wage.

ROC has organized protests and dispatched local affiliates to advocate for the $15 minimum wage. It claims to be an industry support group, but is highly funded by the AFL-CIO. Labor unions have utilized front-groups to make policy pushes look like grassroots movement. The Fight for $15, for instance, is highly funded by the Service Employees International Union.

California became the first state April 4 to raise its minimum wages to $15 an hour, beating New York by just a couple hours. Advocates have also seen victories on the city level starting with Seattle in June 2014. ROC has praised lawmakers who fought in favor of the increase.

ROC also released studies claiming minimum wage increases do not have a negative impact on businesses. Those in support argue the minimum wage increase could help lift people out of poverty, but critics warn it could actually hurt the very people it’s supposed to help. Employers could be forced to cutback on their workforce or raise prices to overcome the added cost of labor.

The true impact of the $15 minimum wage will not be felt right away since the measure was written to increase overtime. Some businesses already reported they will have to leave high minimum wage states because of the increase. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found any increase in the minimum wage could result in at least some job loss.

Jayaraman did not respond to a request for additional comment.

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