The group, Wisconsin Jobs Now, said the rate is too low, citing a
state law requiring that workers be paid a "living wage," or an
amount with which they can pay for basic needs.
It accused Walker, a Republican running for re-election on Nov. 4,
of relying on a study by a major campaign contributor opposing an
increase, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, to justify keeping
the minimum wage low.
"Gov. Walker has put the special interests over the needs of working
families," Jennifer Epps-Addison, executive director of Wisconsin
Jobs Now, said on a conference call with reporters.
The lawsuit seeks a finding that $7.25 per hour is not a living
wage, and to force Walker to convene a commission to determine a new
A copy of the complaint was not immediately available. The complaint
is being filed on Monday in the Dane County Circuit Court in
Madison, the state's capital, the group said.
Walker's office referred a request for comment to the state's
Department of Workforce Development.
John Dipko, a spokesman for that department, said his office will
review the lawsuit after it is filed.
"Most of the complainants who are arguing the minimum wage is not a
living wage are making more than the minimum wage – up to $15.07 an
hour," he added.
Wisconsin law defines a living wage as compensation that is
"sufficient" for workers to have "reasonable comfort, reasonable
physical well-being, decency, and moral well-being."
[to top of second column]
On Oct. 6, the Department of Workforce Development rejected a call
by Wisconsin Jobs Now and 100 workers for a higher minimum wage,
saying it found "no reasonable cause" to believe the workers' wages
were not a living wage.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wisconsin last month was
one of 19 U.S. states whose minimum wage was the same as the federal
minimum. Three states had a lower minimum, and five states had no
Walker's Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Mary Burke, has
advocated raising the state minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over two
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette
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