The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Oregon minimum wage to rise to $9.15 an hour

PORTLAND, Ore. -- In his State of the Union address in February, President Barack Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. On Tuesday, Oregon announced plans to exceed that, setting a minimum wage of $9.15.
It's part of a scheduled increase charted to the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index and takes effect in January. The change is expected to keep Oregon as the state with the nation's second-highest minimum wage, trailing only Washington state, currently $9.19 an hour
Oregon's minimum wage will increase 15 cents in 2014 after also rising 15 cents from 2012 to this year for about 98,000 workers.
Advocates for Oregon's increase and its tie to the price index praised the increase as sign the state supports its lowest-paid residents, while the association that represents employers of many minimum wage earners castigated it as a job-killer.
Restaurants "are going to be concerned over the cost of doing business in Oregon," said Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association spokesman John Hamilton.
Hamilton said the minimum-wage increase, coupled with requirements to provide health care and label menus, will create a difficult situation for small businesses, including restaurants.
"Raising wages, with other things going on including higher beef costs, will make it harder than it already is," Hamilton said.
The left-leaning Oregon Center for Public Policy was more sunny on the wage increase's prospects.
"We think it's very good that Oregon voters decided to (increase) the minimum wage so the lowest paid Oregonians don't get left behind," said OCPP spokesman Juan Carlos Ordonez.
Labor commissioner Brad Avakian, a former Democratic candidate for a congressional seat, said Tuesday that the minimum-wage increase will put money back into state businesses.
The estimated 98,000 workers earning minimum wage work about 30 hours per week, Avakian said. The raise pencils out to about an additional $4.50 per week, or $234 per year.
That's nearly $23 million in pretax earnings, "virtually every dime" of which will be circulated back into Oregon, Avakian said.
In the midst of a statewide recession in 2002, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 22, which increased the state's minimum wage to $6.90 per hour and tied it to increases in the consumer price index. Oregon takes the August-to-August yearly price measurement and releases its projected change in September each year.
The consumer price index looks at about 200 categories of products divided into eight groups, including food, housing, and transportation.
Avakian called it "a very smart thing."
"It's our way of making sure that Oregon's lowest wage earners never fall behind," he said.
Story tags » LawsWages & Pensions

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

HeraldNet highlights

First stop for tourists
First stop for tourists: County tourism volunteers inform, point the way
Remembering Jerry
Remembering Jerry: EvCC groundskeeper Gerald Olmstead was always happy
An untapped market
An untapped market: Sound to Summit is first brewery taproom in Snohomish
Saving the trees
Saving the trees: Learn from arborist how to keep your trees healthy
SnoCoSocial