Minimum-wage workers are in search of champions. Congress must answer them by increasing our minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The argument is that businesses couldn’t survive if they had to pay that much. The truth is we are endlessly innovative. It is absolutely doable.

That huge corporations are unwilling to pay a decent wage borders on criminal. But small businesses are the largest contributors to the workforce. Their greatest challenge is not wages as much as worker skills and turnover. If workers were paid a decent wage, they would be more motivated to stay in a job, and workers who stay in a job become skilled. That is good for everyone.

Portland has already voted to increase our minimum hourly wage to $15, and Maine has voted to increase it to $12. But down in Washington, Sen. Susan Collins seems to have forgotten. Her idea is to have a goal of $10 an hour by 2026. Ms. Collins seems to not understand that $15 an hour is the least that is needed. Now. Not five years from now. $10 is just not enough.

We have a moral obligation to workers who struggle to make daily choices between paying rent or buying food. Because right now we don’t just have people living in poverty, we have people working in poverty. And for that to change, we must have a living minimum wage.

Jo Trafford

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