Oregon’s Labor Commissioner has been invited to testify before a congressional committee Thursday in support of raising the federal minimum wage. Oregon’s model could work for the rest of the nation.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. It would now be $10.59 an hour if it had kept up with inflation during the past 40 years. Under Oregon’s voter-approved law, the state’s minimum wage is affected by the consumer price index. It increased to $8.95 at the beginning of this year. Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian will be the lead witness at a U.S. Senate hearing Thursday.
“We really do have a stronger economy and a more robust middle class when we make sure that workers have the purchasing power to buy local goods and services. That has been based, in our experience, in using the Consumer Price Index as the gauge to appropriately increase our minimum wage when inflation goes up.”
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and California Representative George Miller have introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. It would raise the federal wage by 95-cent increments. By 2015 it would hit $10.10 an hour. After that it would be adjusted to keep pace with the rising cost of living.