Protesters Seek $15 Minimum Wage In Oregon

Date: January 26, 2015

State Already Has One Of Highest In Nation

Protesters rallied at the Oregon state Capitol
in Salem on Saturday, calling for a $15/hr minimum wage. This comes despite the
fact that the state already has the second-highest statewide minimum wage in
the nation, at $9.25 an hour. Not only that, but it is automatically adjusted
for inflation.

What This Means Going Forward:

The
state legislature will convene on February 2 for a five-month session, and a
number of bills to raise the minimum wage have been proposed. The demonstrators
on Saturday backed House Bill 2009, sponsored by Rep. Rob Nosse (D), which
would increase the wage to $15 an hour by 2018 in increments. Several other
bills would also raise the rate, but not as high as Nosse’s. Still, the lowest
proposed level so far is $12.20.

One item that
should be of concern to small businesses is a threat by protest leaders to
press for a $15 minimum wage ballot initiative if they don’t win in the
legislature. That’s the method by which a number of states raised their wages
during this past fall.

What This Means For Small Business:

Any
increase in Oregon’s minimum wage will add more stress small businesses. While several
cities have raised their rates to the proposed increase, the situation in
Oregon is different – it wouldn’t just apply to the few high-cost-of-living
regions, but to all parts of the state, including those rural areas where the
cost of living is far lower than in Portland or Salem.

Additional Reading:

The Salem (OR)
Statesman Journal

and KATU-TV both cover the protests, while The Oregonian looks at some issues raised by an
increase, as does a separate piece in the Salem (OR)
Statesman Journal.

This news article is intended to keep small business owners apprised of current events that may affect them. It does not necessarily reflect NFIB’s policy position on such issues.
 

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