May 26, 2006

ANOTHER STATE MOVES TO INCREASE ITS MINIMUM WAGE



Caption: Goat union leader Arcadia S. Venus is about to order a beer to celebrate.

One progressive movement that is doing well these days is the campaign to raise the minimum wage.

Yesterday, both houses of the North Carolina legislature approved bills that would raise the state minimum wage by $1 an hour to $6.15. The bills are slightly different and will have to be reconciled. According to the Charlotte Observer, "State officials estimate 139,000 workers would be affected."

This is the second state--and, significantly, the second southern state--to approve an increase its minimum since West Virginia did so (sort of) in March. The other was Arkansas. Each victory at the state level, particularly in the south, gives momentum to other state campaigns and ultimately to the effort to raise the federal minimum wage.

Earlier this month, Republican Congressman Phil English from Pennsylvania predicted that Congress would move on the issue this year. It's too soon to tell whether the current congressional leadership would accept a bill without provisions that would undermine other workplace protections, but they may be starting to feel the heat.

For more on state and national efforts to raise the minimum, check out the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign.

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED

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