January 5, 2018
Editorial by Greensboro News & Record makes the case for minimum wage increase
“Even the rationales for stifling minimum wages in North Carolina contradict themselves,” says the newspaper for North Carolina’s third largest city in this editorial supporting an increase in the state minimum wage.
On New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 18 states raised their minimum wages. Two more will raise them in July.
North Carolina is not one of them.
The Tar Heel state has chosen to hew to the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Which is higher than it used to be. But not nearly high enough. The minimum wage in this state has not budged since July 2009.
So, even as they obsess over corporate tax cuts, lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state legislature won’t touch higher minimum wages with a 150-foot pole. They say companies won’t relocate here if wages rise and that existing companies will cut jobs or go out of business altogether because they can’t afford to pay more.
The General Assembly apparently was so convicted in this belief that it slipped a provision into the state’s partially repealed “bathroom law,” HB 2, that prevented local governments from raising their own minimum wages. Though a restroom-access provision that discriminated against transgender people was revoked, the minimum-wage provision remained.
Even the rationales for stifling minimum wages in North Carolina contradict themselves. “A major part of North Carolina’s economy is still agriculture, and these are heavily low wage with limited benefits jobs,” state Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) told the Winston-Salem Journal.
Lambeth added that a minimum-wage increase would result in higher costs “of many of our agriculture products” to consumers.
But what about the cost of meager benefits and low pay to agricultural workers? And why prevent more prosperous urban areas that can afford it from setting higher minimum wages?
There are two arguments for paying salaries that meet the bare minimums for decency. […]
Read the rest of the News & Record editorial, and consider adding your comments in support of raising wages.
The North Carolina AFL-CIO is part of a coalition including businesses and community groups who are pushing to raise our state’s minimum wage to $15/hour over 5 years.
Follow the Raising Wages NC page on Facebook for the latest info on our campaign to boost minimum pay to $15/hour, and sign the petition for lawmakers to finally act to boost the minimum at raisingwagesnc.org.