By Ramona du Houx
In 2014 Portland’s Mayor, Michael Brennan, proposed a minimum wage of $9.50 an hour starting July 1, 2015 and ending at $10.68 on Jan. 1, 2017 with indexing. After a year of debate on the issue, during which lobbyists from the Portland Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Innkeepers Association and the Maine Restaurant Association tried to prevent a substantial wage increase, eliminate indexing, exclude young workers, and gut enforcement provisions, the city council decided.
On July 5th, going against the city’s finance committee, the Portland City Council voted to create a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour that starts on January 1, 2016. The wage will rise to $10.68 an hour in 2017. A year later it will increase on July 1 at the same rate as the Consumer Price Index. The city council is widely expected to place the question on the November ballot.
Maine People’s Alliance is teaming up with the Maine AFL-CIO to enact a $12 statewide increase by referendum in 2016.
And the Green Party in Portland will ask citizens to increase the wage to $15 an hour.
Hillary Clinton and Sanders both are advocating for a minimum wage increase.