Minimum Wage Victory in Portland!
In September 2015, the Portland City Council voted to raise the municipal minimum wage to $10.10/hour in January 2016 from the current statewide minimum wage of $7.50/hour. In 2017 it will rise to $10.68/hour, and then be indexed to keep up with inflation. This is a huge victory for SMWC! For more than a year, we did outreach to directly affected workers, we met with every member of City Council to make sure they were hearing the voices of workers, not just business owners, we testified at City Council hearings, and we wrote Letters to the Editors and Op-Eds to share our stories of low-wage work.
Raising the minimum wage here is a step towards winning a universal, enforceable, living wage. Our city is already unaffordable to many people who live and work here, and raising the wage is part of SMWC’s commitment to the rights of poor and working-class people to live in this city.
What does a universal, enforceable, living wage mean?
Universal means that no workers are excluded. The idea of a minimum wage is that all workers, regardless of age, ability, or the industry they work in should be guaranteed a base pay.
Enforceable means having a credible and effective enforcement strategy for any new minimum wage in Portland, so that employers and workers know the minimum wage isn’t optional and workers have a way to respond if they are not paid according to the law.
Living Wage: A living wage is an hourly wage that, when working 40 hours a week, would cover food, clothing, health care, housing, and other basic needs that allow us to live with dignity. It’s time to move beyond the minimum wage and support a living wage.