Group doesn’t want to wait 6 years for $15 wage

15 Now PDX is hoping to qualify for the November ballot

Demonstrators demanding a $15 per hour minimum wage across Portland hold a sign outside Portland City Hall Wednesday, March 26, 2014 (KOIN)
Demonstrators demanding a $15 per hour minimum wage across Portland hold a sign outside Portland City Hall Wednesday, March 26, 2014 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — People who support a $15 minimum wage in Oregon are collecting signatures, trying to qualify their measure for the November ballot.

The 15 Now PDX group is continuing its effort to raise the minimum wage, despite a proposal released Thursday by Oregon Governor Kate Brown. Her proposal would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15.52 over six years, something signature collectors say is too little too late.

“The governor’s proposal is a step up from what we’ve seen so far out of all the initiatives coming out, but a six year phase in is really entirely too long,” says Justin Norton-Kertson with 15 Now PDX.

According to the University of Oregon Labor and Education Research Center, 400,000 Oregonians do low wage work. That is part of the reason the demand for public services is at a record high and 1,000,000 Oregonians need food stamps to feed their families.

Norton-Kertson wants the $15 minimum wage phased in over three years, as opposed to six, like the Governor’s proposal.

“The cost of living is rising here exponentially and not just with housing but with food, tuition costs, and general entertainment and all costs of living, and in six years I don’t see that being any different,” says Norton-Kertson.

The group has collected about 30,000 signatures so far. It needs 88,000 by July 1st to qualify for the November ballot.

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