NELP Issue Brief – The Politics of Wage Suppression

The Politics of Wage Suppression: Inside ALEC’s Legislative Campaign Against Low-Paid Workers

Main Findings:

• ALEC’s “model legislation” includes multiple proposals to weaken or repeal wage standards that protect the earnings of low-­‐paid workers. These proposals include measures to repeal state minimum wage laws, reduce minimum wage rates for youth and tipped workers, weaken overtime compensation policies, and block local governments from establishing living wage ordinances.

• Since January 2011, legislators from 31 states have introduced 105 bills that aim to suppress the wages of low-­‐paid workers by repealing or weakening core wage standards at the state or local level. 67 of these 105 bills were directly sponsored or co-­‐sponsored by ALEC-­‐affiliated legislators from 25 states.

• As conservative majorities assume power in 31 statehouses this year – including 15 statehouses under the control of veto-­‐proof supermajorities – ALEC’s wage suppression agenda poses a threat to the earnings and economic security of low-­‐paid workers across the country.

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