Friday, January 27, 2023

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Progressives Vow to Keep Working for Portland Minimum-Wage Hike

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Wednesday, November 9, 2022   

Some Maine voters in yesterday's midterm election rejected Portland's "Question D," which would have increased the city's minimum wage from $12.75 an hour to $18 an hour by 2025. Employers would also have no longer been allowed to pay tipped workers the sub-minimum wage of $6.38, with tips bringing them up to the current minimum wage.

Joe Lazzerini, northeast campaign director with One Fair Wage Maine, said workers deserve better.

"At the end of the day, corporations spent over $1.3 million to buy this election, but we're not going to give up,"
Lazzerini vowed. "We're not going to give up. We're going to come back. We're going to fight again."

Companies such as DoorDash and Uber opposed the increase and donated to efforts to defeat it, while the measure drew support from such high-profile Democrats as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The restaurant industry has struggled to retain workers since the pandemic began, though many cite low wages as part of the reason.

Lazzerini added despite Tuesday's loss, some 20,000 workers in Portland alone are now motivated to keep fighting for a living wage.

"That's restaurant workers. That's gig economy workers. That's folks working at grocery stores," Lazzerini outlined.

Opponents of the Portland effort to increase the minimum wage outspent its supporters 52 to one. "Measure D" would have required all restaurants in Portland to pay the full minimum wage, with tips as extra income.

According to the One Fair Wage campaign, the seven states paying their tipped workers a higher minimum wage have reported higher restaurant sales.


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