Friday, May 19, 2006

Push To Control North Carolina's Minimum Wage Continues

On Monday afternoon, I attended a rally led by Rep. Alma Adams (D-Guilford), former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, and State Treasurer Richard Moore to promote an increase in the state’s minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.15 an hour. Rep. Adams has advocated a minimum-wage increase for years and achieved success last year when the House passed legislation to increase the wage to $6 per hour.

Over half the states in the nation, including North Carolina, abide by the federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour. The national rate was last increased in 1997. Workers making $5.15 an hour earn about $800 a month or $10,700 a year. An extra dollar an hour would add up to an extra $2,000 a year.

About 100,000 workers in North Carolina — 3 percent of the workforce — make less than $6 an hour, according to State Treasurer Richard Moore. Minimum wage earners bring in about $893 each month. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have now raised the minimum wage above the federal level. Recently, Arkansas raised its minimum wage more than a dollar to $6.25 an hour.

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