Bernie Sanders Delivers Powerful Message As He Fights To Raise Minimum Wage In U.S., Mexico

Bernie Sanders is reintroducing legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have proposed a bill to raise the federal minimum wage and the new legislation already has the backing of 23 senators, the Huffington Post reports.

Sanders, as a senator and presidential candidate, has continually fought for the rise of the minimum wage in the United States. Some analysts in Mexico say that the law must also ensure that minimum wages in Mexico are gradually raised to those in the United States. A bill, promoted by Senator Armando Ríos Piter, has already been presented in the Mexican Senate in the framework of the initiative “Raise wages, not walls.”

Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. companies were able to move their factories from the United States to Mexico in an easier way, which allows them to benefit from the lower cost of Mexican labor and trade liberalization and reduced or zero tariffs to export their products back to U.S. territory.

The scheme is based on the fact that wages of workers in Mexico are substantially lower than those paid to workers in the United States. Although Mexicans who earn an income from working in foreign factories and factories benefit in comparison to not having employment, the truth is that their wages and working conditions could, and should, be better.

Senator and former U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has long-supported the rise in U.S. minimum wages, expressed his solidarity with Mexican workers and asked that wages in Mexico and throughout Latin America increase so that individuals and families can live with dignity and opportunities and not in a situation of poverty.

“Instead of costing jobs, increasing the minimum wage boosts the economy by increasing consumer spending and reducing employee turnover,” Sanders wrote in a special to the Seattle Times. “The truth is that cities and states that raised the minimum wage in 2014 experienced faster job growth than those that did not.”

In a video message, Sanders urged lawmakers in Mexico, and in all Latin America, to raise the wages of all workers.

“Raise salaries, not walls,” he said in a video broadcast via Twitter.

Although he has promised to create many jobs, Trump has not joined the movement to raise the U.S. minimum wage to $15 an hour and, it is assumed, has no interest in improving the wages of Mexicans.

In a recent speech, Trump accused NAFTA and other free trade schemes of destroying manufacturing employment in the United States and has pointed out that the treaty has been a bad deal for Americans (in fact, it has been very good for many large United States corporations that moved operations to Mexico).

The renegotiation of NAFTA, in any case, could certainly include the labor and wage issue, with provisions that would make it impossible for a company in one country to pay substantially different wages beyond reasonable adjustments for living and production costs (such as even within the United States itself). If that were so, one of the great incentives to move factories from one country to another would be reduced: the enormous asymmetry in the cost of labor (as has been the case between Mexico and the United States).

The increased income earned in the U.S. has also been the main motivator for legal or undocumented migration from the south to the north. In Mexico, for example, the minimum wage is around 80 pesos a day (about $4 a day), and in the United States, it is $7.25 a day. It would be virtually impossible in either country for a family to live and maintain a decent lifestyle with that income.

Under the proposal, the federal minimum wage would go from $7.25 to $9.25 in 2017, before proceeding to $12 in 2020 and $15 in 2024. Thereafter, the minimum would rise in tandem with median wage growth.

[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]