Massachusetts lawmakers recently raised the minimum wage to $11 an hour — the highest statewide rate in the country. And yet, despite widespread support among U.S. voters, Congress remains unlikely to increase the nationwide minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Three experts will explore the complex issue in a panel, “Waging Democracy: The Politics and Process of Raising the Minimum Wage,” on Monday, Sept. 29 at 4 p.m. in 168C Campus Center.
Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Arindrajit Dube, associate professor of economics, and Ariel Jacobson of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United will be the panelists. Moderator Eve Weinbaum, director of the Labor Relations and Research Center, will guide the discussion to allow the labor economists, policymakers and organizers to address realistic and effective strategies to raise the minimum wage and reduce inequality in America.
Bernstein is a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C. From 2009-11, he served as chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, and a member of President Obama’s economic team. Prior to joining the Obama administration, he was a senior economist and the director of the Living Standards Program at the Economic Policy Institute.
Dube studies minimum wage policies, fiscal policy, income inequality, health reform and the economics of conflict. President Obama cited Dube’s research in his 2013 State of the Union address, when he called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. Before coming to UMass Amherst, Dube was a research economist at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.
Jacobson is the development and communications director at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a national restaurant workers’ organization with close to 13,000 restaurant worker members, 100 employer partners, and several thousand consumer members in 32 cities nationwide. She previously served as the program manager for economic justice at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an international human-rights organization.
The panel is part of the SBS yearlong series, Social Science Matters: Perspectives on Inequality.
Sponsored by the Center for Public Policy and Administration, with support from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the economics department and the Labor Center. More information...