May 12, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Birmingham, Alabama – Fast-food workers from Birmingham have filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the state legislature for prohibiting local governments from setting their own minimum wage.
The suit, filed April 28 and joined by the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Greater Birmingham Ministries, argues that the law is tainted “with racial animus” because most of the workers who’d get a raise are black. The state enacted the law in March, seven months after the Birmingham City Council voted to set a local minimum wage of $8.50 an hour in July and $10.10 next year. “The state stole my raise,” said plaintiff Antoin Adams, 23, who works at Hardee’s and makes the federal minimum of $7.25. “If the legislature and governor hadn’t illegally stolen my raise, I would have had money to pay for my son’s child care,” said Marnika Lewis, 23, who makes $270 a week and needs public assistance to cover food and heat. Read more