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Email Insights: SEIU says lawmakers will pay in 2016 for failure to raise minimum wage

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In a last-day-of-session email blast, the Florida branch of the Service Employees International Union told state legislators that their actions “will cost them at the ballot box.”

The labor union was pushing for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and said it will come after lawmakers who didn’t pay attention by “throwing its 55,000-member statewide organization behind a broad push to affect the 2016 elections in Florida, from President to local races.”

Miami Sen. Dwight Bullard and Orlando Rep. Victor Torres, both Democrats, filed the SEIU-backed bills to boost the minimum wage to $15 this session, and neither version was ever heard in committee.

Both lawmakers were among the 32 elected officials who took the labor union’s “minimum wage challenge,” which required them to make all purchase other than housing and utilities on a tight budget.

The group also blasted the GOP-controlled legislature for not being receptive to the 100 or so union members who came to the capitol and asked lawmakers to take the challenge.

“Hard-working people are forced to make nearly impossible choices to barely scrape by while big business passes the cost of supporting their low-wage employees onto taxpayers,” SEIU Florida President Monica Russo said. “The political leadership controlling the debate in Tallahassee is tone deaf and morally bankrupt in refusing to see or even hear them.”

The group said the $15 an hour wage was “taking off across the country” and declared any candidate looking to win in Florida “would be foolish to ignore” its traction among voters.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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