VIRGINIA ORGANIZING AND SEIU TAKE ACTION AT U.S. REP. ROB WITTMAN'S OFFICE
For Immediate Release: July 25, 2012
Fredericksburg, VA: Yesterday, advocacy groups across the United States took action to urge Congress to raise the minimum wage. In Fredericksburg, the local chapters of Virginia Organizing and SEIU took their request to their U.S. Congressman's office. Representative Rob Wittman was not working in Fredericksburg at the time of the action, but advocates left their signed request to raise the federal minimum wage.
Chris Smithers, a Virginia Organizing leader and participant in the action, said, "It was really good to gather with fellow Virginians today to ask for an increase in the minimum wage. Right now, the minimum wage is an insufficient hourly rate and people should be able to afford to live when they are working in this country." Smithers is a retired resident of Stafford who works several part-time jobs to supplement his pension income.
Sheila Jones, an SEIU member and home health care worker, said she felt honored to be able to participate in the action. "It was really important to me to visit Rep. Wittman's office to make sure we are on the same page and hopefully persuade him to vote with us. If minimum wage kept pace with inflation, it would be $10.55 an hour now. Because it is so low, a family of four with two working parents making minimum wage can't afford to provide the necessities for their family."
For Virginia Organizing leader Kevin Smith, this was an important part of his journey in advocacy work. Smith said, "Even though Rep. Wittman wasn't there, I believe we still had an effect." Smith went with Virginia Organizing leaders for a policy briefing with senior White House officials earlier this month and reflected, "This was a new experience for me. I feel like I got to see one end of policymaking in Washington D.C. and another perspective today with our action."
Virginia Organizing works with other local, state, and national groups to empower individuals to take action and help better their lives and communities. Virginia Organizing believes that all people deserve to earn a living wage and will continue to take action across Virginia for that goal to be met.
To interview any of the above individuals or another Virginia Organizing spokesperson, please contact Amanda Pohl at 804-337-1912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Organizing is a statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.