New Seasons raises starting pay, urges for increase in Ore. mini - KPTV - FOX 12

New Seasons raises starting pay, urges for increase in Ore. minimum wage

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The CEO of New Seasons Markets announced Thursday the retailer is raising its employees starting wages from $10 to $12 an hour starting in January.

The company is also urging Oregon lawmakers to raise the state’s minimum wage from the current rate of $9.25 an hour. While there was no dollar amount suggested, they want the discussion to begin now before the next session of the Oregon legislature convenes in 2016.

New Seasons is actually joining with other Oregon companies to urge this hike in the minimum wage, becoming the largest of the advocates with more than 3,000 employees in the state.

In making the announcement, Wendy Collie, the CEO of the neighborhood grocery chain, said it was the right thing to do for workers and for the community.

"We believe raising the minimum wage in Oregon is the right thing to do for our staff and our communities, to ensure everyone can thrive in the communities where they live and work," Collie said in a release. "A higher minimum wage policy needs to meet the needs of our staff, our customers and the communities we serve, to ensure sustainable businesses and the vitality of our economy as a whole."

While many businesspeople have complained that raising the minimum wage would hurt business, others companies such as Hot Lips Pizza and Neil Kelly Remodeling claim that raise in pay will make our communities more prosperous.

“When we see the cost of housing going up so high, people who are smart, intelligent employers want their employees to be able to live in the city,” Tom Kelly, CEO of Neil Kelly Remodeling, explained. “And at $9.25 an hour, less than $20,000 a year, where rents have gone, how can people even begin to live here? We want to have good employees to start out with.”

This group of businesses promoting the hike in the minimum wage noted they aren't endorsing any particular legislation or ballot proposal.

They do think the increases should be phased-in, as has been done in Seattle and San Francisco, and they do want the legislature to act next year.

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