It took less than a day after Oregon’s governor signed one of the nation’s largest minimum wage hikes into law for activists to complain that it’s not enough – and to begin pushing for further wage mandates to be included on the state’s ballot in November.
The newly signed law will raise Oregon’s minimum wage from the current level of $9.25 per hour to $14.75 per hour in cities like Portland. Smaller cities will have a minimum wage of $13.50 and “rural areas” will have the minimum wage set at $12.50. The increases will be phased-in over the next six years, with the first increases taking effect in July.
In a statement, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said the phase-in approach provides “a path forward – so working families can catch up, and businesses have time to plan for the increase.”
Activists who pushed for the minimum wage increase don’t see a good reason to give families and businesses that sort of time.
Justin Norton-Kertson, campaign manager for Oregonians for 15, told KUTU-TV that the new law was “too low and too slow.”
Oregonians for 15 is pushing ahead with a plan to increase the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour in three years. They hope to have that proposal on the ballot in November.