Jackson Lab raises wages to $15 an hour, touts benefits for local small businesses

Jackson Lab raises wages to $15 an hour, touts benefits for local small businesses

The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, one of Maine’s largest employers, has just announced that it will be increasing the base wage for more than 500 Maine “frontline” employees to at least $15 an hour.

“It reflects JAX’s understanding of the importance of these roles and both the board’s and management’s ongoing commitment to reward the entire laboratory workforce fairly and appropriately,” said executive vice president and chief operating officer Charles Hewett in a blog post on the laboratory’s website.

In an interview with the Ellsworth American, Hewett said the starting wage for these jobs in “animal care and positions supporting the Laboratory’s research, administration and operations” is currently $10 to $12 an hour. The higher wages will be earned by employees across nearly 60 towns in eastern Maine and Waldo County.

“Most of this is income that will be spent here,” Charles told the newspaper, noting that the larger paychecks will aid small businesses throughout the region.

The minimum wage in Maine is currently $7.50 an hour. In this November’s election, Question 4 on the ballot will ask Mainers if they support raising the minimum wage to $9 in 2017 and then by a dollar a year until it reaches $12 in 2020, after which it will increase with the cost of living.

More than 500 small businesses across Maine have publicly endorsed the referendum, saying that it’s both an issue of fairness for their employees and a way of putting more money into the pockets of workers who will spend it locally, strengthening Maine communities.

Photo via The Jackson Laboratory

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