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Maine Unions Oppose Proposed Minimum-Wage Cuts

March 28, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

AUGUSTA, Me.—The Maine House Committee on Labor and Housing heard testimony March 18 on six bills that would roll back the minimum-wage increase the state’s voters enacted in 2016. One proposed measure would cut the minimum from $11 to $10 an hour and repeal the annual cost-of-living increases approved in 2016, while the others would reduce the minimum for teenagers, students, employees of smaller businesses, and workers outside Portland, the state’s largest city. Maine AFL-CIO executive director Matt Schlobohm told the committee that “the law is working.” “We’ve seen firefighters, first responders, CNAs, nursing home workers and thousands of other workers get a direct raise,” he said. “Legislators should be focused on raising wages, not cutting them.” “Time would be better spent fixing problems with big box stores hiring low-wage workers with an expectation of using public resources to subsidize their low wages, rather than cutting wages for young workers,” added Barney McClelland, secretary of the Southern Maine Labor Council. The National Federation of Independent Businesses urged the legislature to delay the increase to $12 scheduled for January, saying it would be “a 33% increase since 2017, or $6,700 in added wages and payroll taxes for each minimum-wage job.” Read more

March 28, 2019

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