Trone backs federal $15 minimum wage despite paying Total Wine employees less

Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) may not be the progressive media darling of the congressional freshman class like Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx, Queens) or Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), but that is not to say that Trone is sitting on the sidelines.

The 62-year-old cancer survivor has signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, federal legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour by 2024

The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009.

The bill, which has more than 190 co-sponsors (all Democrats), would also phase out the lower minimum wage for tipped workers — such as restaurant servers and valets — which has been $2.13 an hour since 1996, according to Vox.

H.R. 582 is sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and was introduced on Jan. 16 into the House Committee on Education Labor, of which Trone is a member.

Trone is publicly championing the minimum wage hike.

On Feb. 7 Trone wrote on Facebook: “I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. It makes sense for business, and it’s the right thing to do.”

Trone and his brother Robert co-founded Total Wine & More nearly 30 years ago. The company, headquartered in North Bethesda, is now the largest U.S. independent retailer of wine. Trone served as the company’s president until Dec. 2016.

The average wage of a non-salaried Total Wine & More employee not in management is approximately $12.00 an hour, according to the website Indeed.com, a worldwide employment-related search engine.

Indeed lists a Total Wine cashier earning on average $11.69 per hour as of Feb. 26 this year, and a retail sales associate earning $13.00 per hour. A merchandiser makes approximately $12.42 an hour whereas a customer service associate makes $11.89 per hour.

Management salaries at Total Wine vary: The listed average yearly salary for a supervisor is $37,075; a manager is making $53,479 and, on average, an assistant manager is making approximately $55,295.

Total Wine’s Indeed page lists that it collects salary information from “283 data points directly from employers, users, and past and present job advertisements in the past 36 months.”

Indeed does list a disclaimer that “all salary figures are approximations based upon third-party submissions.”

The “Issues” section of Trone’s campaign website calls for raising the minimum wage immediately.

“First, we should raise the minimum wage immediately. Increasing the minimum wage is the best way to reduce poverty and increase worker productivity. With that, we also need to pass a law tying the minimum wage to inflation.”

Trone’s website touts that he knows from his business experience that “higher wages pay off in the long run by reducing turnover rates and training costs by making employees more productive.”

Yesterday evening Trone visited Annapolis and greeted House and Senate members while championing criminal justice reform policies, increased funding for medical research and combatting the opioid crisis, a cornerstone issue in Trone’s platform since he began campaigning for his second congressional bid.

Last Friday, Maryland’s House of Delegates approved a bill that would incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.

A Facebook post on Trone’s public page yesterday expressed gratitude to the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO for letting him “stop by to chat with the group” yesterday.

“As a Member of the Education and Labor Committee, I will vote this week to pass the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. It’s time we stand up for the American worker and #FightforFifteen,” Trone’s post read.

Trone, who lives in Potomac, just outside the boundaries of the 6th Congressional District, set a record last year as the biggest self-funder in congressional history, spending nearly $30 million over the course of two years on two congressional campaigns in two separate congressional districts.

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