Last week, Bookselling This Week launched the Minimum Wage Roundup, a new feature that reports on minimum wage stories from around the country in an effort to keep booksellers on top of developments affecting their communities.
If there is a minimum wage discussion occurring in your state or town, the American Booksellers Association urges you to get involved and let us know about it. If you want more information on how to do so, contact ABA Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to check out BookWeb’s Minimum Wage advocacy page.
- California: Sacramento Approves Minimum Wage Increase
- Maine: Bangor City Council to Consider Minimum Wage Ordinance Post-Election
- Missouri: Kansas City Repeals Minimum Wage Law
- Oregon: Minimum Wage Won’t Increase in 2016
- Virginia: Lawmaker Seeks Living Wage in the State
- Washington: Tacoma Minimum Wage Ordinance to Be Put to a Vote Next Week
On Tuesday, October 27, the Sacramento City Council approved a city ordinance that would increase the minimum wage to $12.50 by 2020, reported KCRA News. The city’s current minimum wage of $9 per hour is scheduled to increase to $10 on January 1, 2016. Under the new ordinance, the minimum wage will be increased to $10.50 in 2017, $11 in 2018, $11.75 in 2019, and $12.50 in 2020. After that, the minimum wage will be adjusted for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index, the article noted.
The city council removed provisions in the ordinance that had exempted from minimum wage requirements employees under 18 years of age, workers with developmental disabilities, and people who were part of a job training program, KCRA News reported. But the new ordinance now offers a health care credit, allowing businesses to pay $2 less than the minimum wage if they provide health care. Small businesses with fewer than 100 employees are required to follow the minimum wage increase one year after larger businesses.
Many in attendance were upset at the ordinance because they wanted the wage increased to $15 per hour by 2020.
In Bangor, Maine, a proposed ordinance that would gradually increase the local minimum wage from the state-mandated $7.50 per hour to $9.75 by 2018 will not be considered by the town council until November 23, as reported by the Bangor Daily News. As such, the measure’s future will depend on the results of the city council election on November 3. Three council seats are up for grabs, and BDN provided a rundown on each city council candidate’s position on a minimum wage increase.
The council is still looking at some clarifications and proposed amendments to the ordinance. Amendments proposed by councilors thus far would eliminate language exempting tipped workers, businesses with five or fewer employees, and workers under the age of 18, the article noted.
After a state court ruled invalid a St. Louis minimum wage increase, Kansas City, Missouri, officials repealed their own minimum wage increase, which would have grown the city’s minimum wage to $13 by 2020, as reported by KCUR 89.3FM. The council did endorse efforts to get the minimum wage increased at the state level and stressed that their repeal of the law did not indicate that they were abandoning the minimum wage issue.
KCUR noted that Mayor Sly James told a council chamber packed with minimum wage supporters: “We didn’t think we could do what you were asking us to do. We did it anyway. Now we’ve had a court tell us, ‘You can’t do what you are trying to do.’ And we can’t ignore the court.”
For the first time in five years, in 2016 Oregon won’t be increasing the minimum wage, as reported by the Oregon Business Report. The minimum wage is currently $9.25, and it will remain at that hourly rate in 2016, state officials noted. Oregon’s wage law is tied to the Consumer Price Index.
OBR did note that the lack of a wage increase could spur efforts by workers groups to significantly raise the wage to as high as $15 an hour. Two organizations, Raise the Wage and 15 Now Oregon, are seeking to increase the minimum wage through ballot measures during the 2016 election. In addition, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has said that she wants to increase the wage to $13 an hour.
OBR stressed that it is very likely that minimum wage will be a key issue in the next legislative session, which begins in February.
Virginia Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-11th District) wants to increase Virginia’s minimum wage to $15 an hour from the current $7.25, as reported by WSET.com. “More than half of every month that you work goes towards rent and utilities,” Rasoul told WSET.com. “Not to mention food, so it’s no wonder people are living in poverty even while working full-time.”
Rasoul said he and other lawmakers will submit legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
On November 3, Tacoma residents will be asked to vote on two minimum wage measures. One that immediately increases the minimum wage for small businesses to $15, and another that requires all businesses to increase the minimum wage to $12 by 2018, as reported by the Seattle Times.
Initiative 1, if passed, would require all Tacoma employers with at least $300,000 in annual gross revenue to pay at least $15 per hour, with annual adjustments for inflation. Initiative 1 could take effect as soon as December, the Times noted, and, if passed, those violating the law would face criminal, not civil, penalties. Initiative 1B would require employers to phase in a minimum wage increase of $12 per hour by 2018. The first wage increase would be to $10.35 in February, and violations would incur civil penalties.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce supports Initiative1B but said that Initiative 1 is too extreme, according to the article.