Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Issue: Environmental and Social Justice
Program Topic: Minimum Wage Ordinance Considered by Bangor City Council
Key Discussion Points:
a) Last night members of the Bangor City Council heard public testimony on an ordinance that would Bangor’s local minimum wage incrementally 75 cents a year for the next three years, and then attach it to the rate of inflation, as delineated by the Consumer Price Index. This would move the current $7.50 an hour state minimum wage to $8.25 an hour in 2016, $9 in 2017 and $9.75 in 2018. Exempt from the proposed ordinance, as currently written, are businesses with three or less employees, tipped employees (specifically restaurant wait staff) and employees under the age of 18. U Maine economics professor Todd Gabe says, this would affect 7% of Bangor’s workforce.
b) Last week, Portland’s City council voted in favor of raising the local minimum wage to $10.10 an hour on January 1st, 2016, to $10.68 on January 1st, 2017, and then index it to inflation in subsequent years.
c) Opponents to the wage increase included the Maine Restaurant Association and others who argued that those at minimum wage were being adequately compensated for their work and skill level and that local government should not be involved in setting labor law. Proponents of the ordinance say that those earning the minimum wage cannot keep up with the cost of living and that there is no action being taken at the state and federal level. The Maine Peoples Alliance and others are working on to put a referendum on the 2016 ballot that would raise the state minimum wage.
Joe Baldacci, Bangor City Council, sponsor of minimum wage ordinance
Dick Grotton, Maine Restaurant Association
Scott Linsky, Bangor resident
Rob Cross, owner of Dairy Queen on Broadway St, Bangor
Randy Wadleigh, Governor’s Restaurants
Jim Marcotte, Bangor resident
Mary Tedesco Schneck, Bangor resident, pediatric nurse practioner
Katherine Kates, Bangor resident
Michael Havlin, Hampden resident, lead researcher for Portland Mayor’s Minimum Wage Advisory Committee,
Dennis Chinoy, Bangor resident
Mike Tipping, Maine Peoples Alliance, Bangor resident