North Carolina Legislators reintroduce bill to raise the state minimum wage to $15/hr by 2023 and remove discriminatory exemptions
RALEIGH (April 21, 2021) — North Carolina lawmakers will join Raising Wages NC — a coalition of essential workers, businesses, faith leaders, and policy advocates — on April 22 to announce the reintroduction of inclusive legislation that raises the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour by 2023 and indexes it to the cost of living, ends the subminimum wage for persons with disabilities and phases it out for tipped workers, and repeals exemptions for agricultural and domestic workers.
North Carolina’s minimum wage has been stuck at the federal level of $7.25 an hour for nearly 12 years. Our state’s tipped minimum wage stands at the federal level of $2.13 per hour.
What: Legislative press conference to reintroduce NC $15 Minimum Wage bill and demand swift passage
Who: North Carolina lawmakers including Representative Susan Fisher, Senator Natalie Murdock; North Carolina workers; small business owners; clergy; and community advocates with the Raising Wages NC Coalition
When: Thursday, April 22, 2021, at 10:30am
Where: via Zoom (registration required)
“Essential workers have been keeping people fed and keeping our state on track during COVID, but we’re not making enough to survive,” said Nashon Blount, a member of NC Raise Up/Fight for $15 and a Union, who earns $8.50 per hour at a Durham McDonald’s. “Why is North Carolina allowing so many working families to live in poverty when these companies can afford to pay us $15 per hour? Workers have been demanding it for years and other states have shown it’s possible. Now it’s our turn.”
Senate Bill 673, sponsored by Senators Wiley Nickel, Natalie Murdock, and Valerie Foushee, was introduced on April 8. House Bill 612, sponsored by Representatives Susan Fisher, Carla Cunningham, James Gailliard, and Pricey Harrison, was introduced on April 20.
“This legislation will deliver a crucial raise for North Carolina’s working families,” said Rep. Fisher. “It is time to lift our state’s minimum wage and ensure that the workers who keep our economy running are paid enough to survive.”
Currently, 29 states and Washington D.C. have minimum wages above $7.25 per hour and numerous states have $15 minimum wage legislation in motion— the result of persistent grassroots organizing by workers and advocates across the country. Numerous studies have shown far-reaching societal benefits of raising the minimum wage including fewer people in poverty, improved physical and mental health, a significant decrease in suicide rates, a decrease in child neglect, progress toward closing the racial wage gap, and the gender wage gap. Raising wages will also boost consumer demand and accelerate job growth.
“North Carolinians shouldn’t have to wait on an act of Congress to get a long-overdue raise,” said MaryBe McMillan, President of the NC State AFL-CIO. “Our state lawmakers need to act, as numerous states and cities have already done, and pass an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A recent poll shows 75 percent of North Carolinians support raising the minimum wage. Economic progress is happening in places with higher wages, and North Carolina needs to keep up.”
Raising Wages NC is a broad, diverse group of working people, unions, community organizations, faith leaders, businesses, and policy advocates joined in common cause – we believe that all workers in NC deserve a living wage. For more information, visit www.raisingwagesnc.org.
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