by William Pilgrim
Oregon’s minimum wage will rise from $8.80 to $8.95 on January 1, 2013, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) announced in September. This is a victory for Oregon workers. In most of the country minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and a ridiculous $2.13 per hour for tipped employees.
In Oregon the minimum wage applies to almost all workers, including those who customarily receive tips. While the raise is designed only to match annual inflation (the overall yearly increase in prices), this wage increase, though small, means more money will be kept in our communities, and helps keep the gainfully employed out of abject poverty.
This wage translates into almost $18,000 per year before Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Income, and other taxes, barely enough for a single person to get by on, and certainly not enough for a family. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation over the last 40 years, it would be $10.55 an hour.