Minimum Wage

Idaho cities, counties and local voters will not have the option to approve increases in the minimum wage in the absence of action at the state level. A legislative measure to block local minimum wage increases became law Tuesday.

Oregon lawmakers are heading home Thursday after closing the books on a contentious four-and-a-half week long session. House Speaker Tina Kotek brought down the final gavel just after 1 p.m. Thursday.

One of the initiative campaigns to raise Oregon's minimum wage announced Monday that it's ending its signature-gathering efforts. But a separate campaign says it will keep trying to get an initiative on the November ballot.

Oregon lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to a measure that will increase the state's minimum wage over the next six years. The vote in the Oregon House now sends the measure to the governor's desk.

Three states, three ways of addressing whether and how to raise the statewide minimum wage. In Oregon this coming Monday, the state House takes up a three-tiered wage increase that passed the state Senate last Thursday. In Washington state, activists are preparing to hit the streets for a statewide initiative. Meanwhile, Idaho lawmakers are mulling whether to block both a statewide and any possible local increases in the minimum wage.

A plan to hike Oregon's minimum wage is moving forward in the state legislature. The state Senate Thursday approved a measure that would increase the wage to as much as $14.75 per hour over the next six years.

Republicans in the Idaho and Washington legislatures want to block any more cities from going the path of Seattle and Tacoma in raising the minimum wage locally. In Boise Tuesday, a House committee introduced a state preemption bill.

Martin LaBar

Some Washington blueberry growers in Walla Walla County admitted in federal court that they systematically violated agricultural workers rights, including failing to pay minimum wage and overtime.

The growers, including Blue Mountain Farms and its affiliates, will have to pay pickers and packing shed workers nearly $400,000 in unpaid wages and damages, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Washington voters could decide in November on a combined minimum wage and sick leave measure . A union-backed campaign calling itself “Raise Up Washington” filed an initiative Monday to raise the state’s base wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020.

The effort to raise Oregon's minimum wage is getting a financial boost from the largest state workers union. SEIU local 503 has formed a political action committee to push for a hike in the state's base pay.

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