Oregonians Applaud July 1st Minimum Wage Increase

Over 100,000 Oregonians will be impacted on Friday

(PORTLAND, OR) On Friday, July 1, over 100,000 Oregonians earning minimum wage will receive a raise.  Within Portland’s urban growth boundary and in urban counties, wages will increase from $9.25 per hour to $9.75.  In nonurban counties, the minimum wage will increase from $9.25 to $9.50.  From minimum wage earners to small business owners, Oregonians are applauding the first increase as a strong step forward for our state.

Small business owner Shaun Sieren of the O'Neil Public House in Northeast Portland sees the increase as a way to give local economies a boost:

“The minimum wage increase on July 1t is a good thing, for my business, our customers, and the entire community,” said Sieren. “When folks who earn minimum wage get a raise, it helps everyone.  It puts more money in the pockets of working people, and that money gets spent at local businesses and on local goods and services. It’s simple: raising wages makes our local economy stronger.”

For Kasil Kapriel, who earns minimum wage working at Portland International Airport, the increase on July 1t is a step forward, and a promise of hope for something more:

“The minimum wage increase will make a difference for me and my family,” said Kapriel.  “It is a great step, but only the first step.  There is more we can do to make sure working families have a shot at a better life.  I look forward to continuing to stand with my fellow airport workers, and people across our community in standing up for good jobs, with a living wage, and affordable care. We’ll continue to do whatever it takes for all working families to have a shot at a better life.” 

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain explains how raising the minimum wage is just one part of a solution to a crisis facing working people in Oregon:

“In the past six years, the number of people moving to Oregon has increased by 10% while much of our state’s job growth is happening in the low wage sectors of the economy.  Combine that trend with housing costs skyrocketing and we have a problem,” said Chamberlain.  “Solving that problem requires a multifaceted approach, and raising wages is central to that approach.  We can’t expect Oregon to grow, to prosper, unless working people can afford the basics like housing, groceries, childcare, and transportation.  The raise on July 1 is the first step in the right direction for working people in Oregon.”

Business owners and workers who are interested in learning about their minimum wage region and the schedule of raises can visit Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries website to see information about the increase.  Raising the minimum wage was part of the Fair Shot For All Coalition's 2015-16 Legislative Agenda.