Oxfam: Maine is worst in Northeast for low wages

Oxfam: Maine is worst in Northeast for low wages

A national report and set of maps released today by Oxfam and the Economic Policy Institute shows that Maine has fallen far behind neighboring states in the proportion of its workforce earning livable wages.

31.9% of Maine workers are currently paid less than $12 an hour, by far the highest in the Northeast. Maine also leads the region in the proportion of women paid less than $12 an hour (33%), the percentage of working families living in or near poverty (23.2%) and the percentage of private sector workers without access to any paid sick leave (42.3%).

“As the federal minimum wage has remained stuck at $7.25 over the past seven years, millions of workers have seen their wages decline in real value,” explain the authors of the report, who argue for raising the minimum wage and other policies of economic fairness, noting that “today the value of the wage is about 25 percent lower than its peak in 1968 (adjusted for inflation), despite continued increases in worker productivity.”

“Economists have long recognized that putting money into people’s pockets boosts purchasing power and has positive ripple effects for the entire economy,” they write.

According to the report, 29.3% of Maine children currently rely on parents paid less than $12 an hour.

A referendum on the ballot this November in Maine would raise the minimum wage from $7.50 to $9 in 2017 and then a dollar a year until it reaches $12 in 2020. It would also increase the sub-minimum wage for service workers who receive tips from $3.75 an hour to $5 in 2017 and a dollar a year until it reaches $12 in 2024.

The report features the photo and story of Ambre Davidson, a low-wage worker in Portland who explained to the Portland Press Herald last year that an increase in the minimum wage of even a few dollars would make “a huge impact” on her life.

Comments

You might also like

Paul LePage

Gov. LePage’s latest lie shows he hasn’t read minimum wage law

At a town hall meeting last week, Maine Governor Paul LePage upbraided and mocked an audience member for disputing his claim that over 420,000 Maine voters didn’t understand what they

fair wages

A minimum wage question, LePage’s attacks on poor kids and Brexit

This week on the Beacon Podcast, Ben and Mike discuss the just-released official wording of the minimum wage question, new numbers on low-wage workers from Oxfam, Gov. LePage’s misuse of

fair wages

Gov. LePage admits even Republicans aren’t with him on rolling back minimum wage

Appearing on a conservative talk radio show on Tuesday morning, Governor Paul LePage advocated for the legislature to undo parts of Question 2, which increases taxes on the wealthy to