POLL: NC voters support improved wage and hour laws

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Even conservatives back improvements

According to the results of a new poll released this week, North Carolina voters broadly support improvements to wage and hour laws.

The poll, commissioned by the N.C. Justice Center and conduced by Public Policy Polling, found solid majorities of North Carolina voters want to increase the minimum wage (58 percent), allow their local government to set living wage standards (63 percent), and give paid sick leave to workers (62 percent).

Related: BTC BRIEF: Don’t Get Sick – Nearly Half of Working North Carolinians Lack Paid Sick Days

At the same time, only 29 percent of voters think setting wages should be left to the free market alone, and just 37 percent of voters said the number of new jobs matters more than how well those jobs pay.

Surprisingly, most of the survey responses came from Mitt Romney voters (49 percent), and respondents were almost twice as likely to identify as conservatives (43 percent) instead of liberals.

“These results show strong support for worker-friendly policies in North Carolina,” said Carol Brooke of the Workers’ Rights Project at the NC Justice Center.

“Paid sick days and living wages build an economy that works for everyone, and the vast majority of North Carolinians recognize that.” [source]

“Since 2009, 8 out of every 10 jobs created pays below a wage that would allow a family to meet the growing costs for basic needs,” said Alexandra Sirota, director of the NC Justice Center’s Budget & Tax Center.

“It is clear that North Carolinians seek a policy direction that will not only ensure everyone who wants to work can but that those who do work hard don’t live in poverty.” [source]

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Voters on wrong side of extremists in General Assembly

Despite strong support among voters for raising wages and not leaving wage standards up to the market alone, the extremists who now control our General Assembly do not agree with them.

Speaker Thom Tillis, who is running to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate, called the idea of raising the minimum wage “dangerous” and stopped just short of advocating full repeal.

Under Tillis’ leadership, last year the General Assembly passed and Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law House Bill 74, which forbids local governments from adopting ordinances that require contractors to pay living wages and offer paid sick days.