Va. Congressman to introduce “Raise the Wage” bill Thursday

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Thursday Congressman Bobby Scott (D, Virginia) will hold a news conference where he and co-sponsor Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) plan to introduce the Raise the Wage Act to raise the current minimum wage of $7.25/hour.

“They need to do it like yesterday, because that’s how bad I need it,” said homecare worker Brenda Cosby.

Cosby makes just over minimum wage but says she has to have two jobs just to make ends meet.

“It’s very hard because the price of gas, milk, eggs, just your daily living,” said Cosby.

She’s one of the people that supports efforts to raise the minimum wage. The issue has sparked protests across the country and a movement seeking higher wages, including a rally in Richmond last week. Scott will introduce a plan to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, and eliminate including tips as part of the wage paid to restaurant workers…

“That $12, it would be a great deal,” said Crosby.

“It would be very difficult for a restaurant to digest,” said restaurant owner Matt Simmons.

Simmons owns restaurants across the state and says while he is sympathetic to low wage employees needing more money, the move would drive a lot of mom and pop shops out of business and would devastate the restaurant industry.

“The margins for restaurants are so low, on average a restaurant makes about a 5% operating profit,” said Simmons.

Simmons says in order to survive, they would have to come up with ways to pay their employees more.

“Obviously that money would have to come from somewhere. Price increases, certainly some job losses.”

The news conference will be held in D.C. at 2:30 Thursday afternoon.

Stay with 8News for continuing coverage of this developing story.

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