Take Action!

Hawai'i Needs a Raise!

Increase the minimum wage!

S.B. 2609, SD1 has been scheduled for a hearing by the House Labor & Public Employment Committee on Tuesday, March 18th at 9:00 a.m.  This bill would increase the minimum wage in Hawaii over three years to $10.10, and includes an unspecified amount for the tip credit (the amount by which employers can lower the minimum wage for tipped workers).  Currently, the tip credit is 25 cents.

Please send in supportive testimony by Monday, March 17th.

Unfortunately, the current draft of the bill has removed the automatic cost-of-living adjustments and no longer deletes the tip credit*.  Please consider including in your testimony that you support the original version of the bill (with automatic cost-of-living adjustments and with the tip credit deleted).

Follow this bill here

Raising the minimum wage will promote Hawai‘i’s economic recovery and help lift our families out of poverty and toward financial security. Hawai‘i needs a raise to build economic opportunity and stability for all of our workers!

The most important points to express in your testimony are that you support a minimum wage increase of $10.10 (or more!), automatically indexing future increases to inflation, and repealing the tip credit.  

For testimony less than 10MB in size, transmit from http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx. (Registration required)

Additional talking points:
  • Minimum wage workers are critical to our economy, but are falling further and further behind in their ability to make ends meet and this is contributing to our homelessness problem
  • Hawai‘i's minimum wage earners are going into their 8th year without a raise while average weekly earnings have increased by 16%
  • Adjusting the current $7.25 minimum wage for inflation since the last time the minimum wage was raised in 2007, a worker would have to be paid $8.68 an hour to match the buying power of 2007
  • A single parent of one child working at minimum wage 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, earns $2,770 or 16% below the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two. Hawai‘i's poverty rate of 17.3% makes Hawai‘i the 9th poorest in the nation
  • Increasing the minimum wage is especially important for women, LGBT workers, and immigrants, who are more likely to be lowwage earners
  • Restaurant servers, the largest group of tipped workers, experience poverty at nearly three times the rate of the workforce as a whole, and 70% of servers are women
  • If the minimum wage was increased to $10.10 per hour, thereby boosting annual earnings, it would be enough to pull a family of three out of poverty
  • Research of early childhood development has found that income insecurity negatively affects three key aspects of brain development – positive relationships, learning resources, and high stress
  • 85% of minimum wage earners are 21 and older, 84% of minimum wage earners work 20+ hours a week, and 30% work 35+ hours a week
  • The minimum wage has been increased four times since 2002, and the number of jobs increased by an average of 2.2% over the next twelve months after the minimum wage increase
  • The average tipped worker earns just $9.87 per hour, and tipped workers are more likely to live under the federal poverty guidelines. As a result, 7 states allow no tip credit* at all
*What is the "tip credit"? A tip credit is the amount below minimum wage that an employer is allowed to pay employees who work in jobs that customarily receive tips.

For more information: www.hawaiineedsaraise.com

Two bills to support our youth!   

Ban conversion/reparative "therapy"!
HB1789, which would "protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts," will be heard by the House Education Committee Jan. 27, at 2PM in House conference room 309.  Follow the bill or submit testimony here.

What do the experts say about conversion/reparative therapy?

The American Psychological Association notes:
Despite the general consensus of major medical, health, and mental health professions that both heterosexuality and homosexuality are normal expressions of human sexuality, efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy have been adopted by some political and religious organizations and aggressively promoted to the public. However, such efforts have serious potential to harm young people because they present the view that the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth is a mental illness or disorder, and they often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises youth that:
Counseling may be helpful for you if you feel confused about your sexual identity. Avoid any treatments that claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation, or treatment ideas that see homosexuality as a sickness.
The American Psychiatric Association, in its 2000 position statement on “reparative” therapy, states:
Psychotherapeutic modalities to convert or “repair” homosexuality are based on developmental theories whose scientific validity is questionable. Furthermore, anecdotal reports of “cures” are counterbalanced by anecdotal claims of psychological harm. In the last four decades, “reparative” therapists have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure. Until there is such research available, [the American Psychiatric Association] recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation, keeping in mind the medical dictum to first, do no harm.

The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.Many patients who have undergone reparative therapy relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.

Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any sychiatric treatment, such as reparative or conversion therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation.
The American Counseling Association adopted a resolution in 1998 which states:
[The ACA] opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation; and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based on ignorance or unfounded beliefs about same-gender sexual orientation. Further, in April 1999, the ACA Governing Council adopted a position opposing the promotion of “reparative therapy” as a “cure” for individuals who are homosexual.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a gay-conversion therapy ban passed in California did not violate the constitutional rights of counselors, minor patients or their parents.
Protect students from discrimination!
HB744, which would "expand the prohibition against student bias based on sex in educational or recreational programs receiving financial assistance from or using facilities of the state or county by adding race, religion, and sexual orientation," will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, January 21, 2014.  Follow the bill and submit testimony here.

We are going to suggest that the bill be amended to include "actual or perceived gender identity" as well.

Pride At Work Hawai'i Out and Organizing!