Minimum Wage

Photo: 10 people were arrested outside the offices of North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger.
Jorge Valencia

Police officers arrested 10 protesters at the North Carolina General Assembly on Friday, as the protesters chanted and called on Republican lawmakers to put a referendum on a statewide ballot to raise the minimum wage.

Officers handcuffed the protesters outside the office of Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) after they refused to leave the building past its posted 5 p.m. closing time. 

Officers took protesters to the Wake County Detention Center and charged them with second degree trespassing, said police Chief Jeff Weaver.

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The Federal government mandates that all states must pay their employees at least $7.25 per hour.  Many states exceed the mandated rate and increase their minimum wages, but North Carolina has set its minimum wage right at the federally mandated minimum of $7.25 per hour.

However, an even lower minimum wage applies to what are called "tipped workers."  If you receive tips while you are working, your employer can legally pay you as little as $2.13 per hour, on the logic that the difference will be made up in tips.

DPS Custodians
Leoneda Inge

Dozens of Durham Public Schools custodial workers rallied outside school district offices Friday, hoping they’ll get their back wages soon. Workers carried signs reading, "DPS, Clean This Up!"

More than 140 custodians at big schools like Jordan and Hillside High Schools are still due two paychecks that were supposed to come before the holidays.

Durham Public Schools contracts out custodial services.  But when sub-contractor, Integrity Facilities Management filed for bankruptcy, workers were not paid.  

A picture of a window with a for rent sign.
capl_@_washjeff.edu / Creative Commons

North Carolina has better houses and apartments for sale or rent than in recent years. But Bob Kucab says with that rise in quality, affordability has become a problem. He directs the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.

“And the biggest culprit is quite simply that housing costs have risen faster than incomes for most families over the past 10 years,” Kucab says.

Now, developers, real estate agents, lenders and agencies are gathering to share potential solutions.

A picture of an empty wallet.
401(K) 2012 / Creative Commons

Chief Financial Officers across the country say that hiking the federal minimum wage could lead to mass layoffs. Rebecca Martinez reports they're not willing to move far from the $7.25-per-hour standard.

Duke University and CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey wrapped up Friday, after 74 consecutive quarters. It's world's longest-running survey of senior finance executives. They say few companies would act if the minimum wage were raised to $8.75 an hour.

Money
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Chief Financial Officers say increasing the national minimum wage to $10 an hour could have negative consequences.

The latest survey by Duke University and CFO Magazine shows companies would cut jobs or reduce hiring if the minimum wage rose to $10 an hour. 

Duke Finance Professor John Graham says nearly half of retail firms and one-third of service and manufacturing companies said they would decrease hiring plans.

President Barack Obama talks about the importance of raising the minimum wage.
Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

President Barack Obama signed an executive order last week to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour. He is pushing for Congress to pass a bill that will do the same for all Americans. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie.
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In his annual address to the nation, President Obama discussed raising the minimum wage for federal workers and closing the gender wage gap. He also praised North Carolina's innovation hub.

Obama spoke in Asheville last month about raising the minimum wage.
Randomsoleil, via Flickr, Creative Commons

The White House is continuing to take its effort to raise the nation's minimum wage on the road.  The proposed change was part of President Obama's message during his stop at an Asheville plant in February. He said it's time for an increase in the minimum wage "because if you work full time, you shouldn't be in poverty."