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Oklahoma Legislator Urges $10.50 Minimum Wage

January 9, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—Newly elected state Sen. George Young (D-Oklahoma City) says this might be the year his bill to raise Oklahoma’s minimum wage goes somewhere in the state legislature. The measure would increase it from $7.25 an hour, where it has been since 2009, to $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2020. Young introduced similar measures during his four years in the state House, and told the Enid News that the reaction had been “almost like we don’t even talk about it because it’s too ridiculous to even consider,” but that low-wage workers’ struggles have now attracted more interest. “I believe the working poor of Oklahoma deserve more than $7.25 an hour,” said Oklahoma AFL-CIO President Jimmy Curry. The federation has endorsed the bill, although Curry noted that even $10.50 is not enough to rent a one-bedroom apartment without a second job. The head of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, the state affiliate of the anti-union State Policy Network, said he opposed raising the minimum because “the last thing we want to do is make it more difficult for people to find work by government arbitrarily setting wages that have no correlation to what’s going on in the market.” Read more

January 9, 2019

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