Sen. Patrick blasts corporate lobbyists’ anti-minimum wage scheme

Sen. Patrick blasts corporate lobbyists’ anti-minimum wage scheme

Sen. John Patrick, the lead Senate Democrat on the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce and Economic Development Committee, had some harsh words for a coalition of corporate lobby groups who announced yesterday that they would attempt to weaken or derail a citizen initiative to increase Maine’s minimum wage. The lobbyists are attempting to convince the legislature to attach a competing measure, ostensibly allowing a second option on the ballot for a smaller minimum wage increase.

“This coalition says they have an ‘alternative’ plan to raise the minimum wage, but I know from experience that their only goal is stopping the citizen initiative and keeping minimum wage workers in poverty,” said Patrick.

The citizen initiative, advanced by Mainers for Fair Wages and certified by the Secretary of State last month, would increase the minimum wage to $9 in 2017 and then a dollar a year until it reaches $12 in 2020, thereafter increasing it with the cost of living and also gradually raising the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers until it reaches the full minimum wage after 2024.

Last year, Patrick’s Labor Committee considered seven bills to raise the current minimum wage, including one that would have increased it to just $8 an hour. All of the bills were opposed by the lobbyists now leading the business coalition.

“These groups claim to now support a minimum wage increase of $2.50, but that doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Sen. Patrick. “Just last year they said they couldn’t even afford a 50 cent increase. So don’t tell me they suddenly have had a change of heart and care about low-wage workers. This competing measure has one goal and one goal only: To split the vote and keep workers at poverty wages.”

Photo via Andi Parkinson

Comments

You might also like

state budget

Attempts to undermine referendum results are a profound insult to Maine voters

At the risk of sounding a tad alarmist, I think it’s worth pointing out that our elected officials are actively working to undermine the results of the last election. No

environment

Lead contamination is quietly poisoning Maine kids. Congress could make things worse.

State Representative Bettyann Sheats, a contractor and landlord from Auburn, led reporters on a tour of her rental property in Lewiston on Tuesday to highlight the dangerous, ongoing problem of

health care

Nurses strike in Presque Isle over wages, safe staffing levels

Nurses at The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle began a two-day strike this morning to highlight what they say is a refusal by hospital management to address key issues