Petitioners find statewide support for raising the minimum wage

NOTE: This is guest post from Appleseed intern Christina Guthmann, who has volunteered to gather petition signatures for the ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage.

Appleseed intern Christina Guthmann (right) works to gather petition signatures to put raising the minimum wage on the fall ballot.

Appleseed intern Christina Guthmann (right) works to gather petition signatures to put raising the minimum wage on the fall ballot.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of working on the minimum wage ballot initiative with Appleseed. My first day on the job, I was trained on circulating by a state senator. Then I sat in on a meeting where my supervisors were working on field plans and strategy. It’s safe to say, I have not done anything like this before.

Lincoln has countless interesting, fun, and exciting events over the summer. Usually, I’d make a plan to go to these events with friends. Instead, we’re planning how many volunteers need to attend the event, which entrances have the most traffic, how many petitions to bring, and how responsive the crowd will be to our cause. It’s a completely different way of looking at events, street corners, and crowds.

I’ve also been able to do a lot of research about minimum wage. Of course, in a state like Nebraska, there are a lot of common beliefs on the minimum wage. For example, we have been approached by people who were concerned raising minimum wage may be bad for the economy or that it could increase unemployment.

After researching these, it’s been interesting to find that there have been many studies done by economists that show increasing the minimum wage will boost the economy.  When people make more money, they spend more money. This puts money into the economy, which is great for Nebraska.

Some studies were even created to prove that raising the minimum wage was bad for employment, but found the opposite after doing extensive research.

Besides the interesting issue, I’ve been impressed by the people we talk to.  We spend hours outside talking to people about the minimum wage. I’ve been more impressed by how helpful and kind Nebraskans are. People have been concerned that I’ll get sunburned. Or they’ve offered me free water. People have thanked me for circulating. The many “I hope you get enough signatures”, “This is awesome!” and “Yes! I want to sign that!” have been really encouraging.

I’ve learned so much from this initiative in these last few weeks. From how to analyze an event and create a field plan to how to be bold in talking to potential signers, I’m grateful for the experience so far. It has been a blessing to work on the initiative and meet so many great people in the process.

You can help with the effort to raise minimum wage in Nebraska. Click here to sign up to gather petition signatures to put this issue on the fall ballot.

You can also contact Rachel Gehringer-Wiar at rachelgw@neappleseed.org or call 402-438-8853 x118 to learn about volunteer opportunities.

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