MEDFORD, Ore. — Beginning in a few days, almost 100,000 Oregonians will see their pay increase. In 2014, minimum wage will jump 15 cents, from $8.95 to $9.10, making it the second highest minimum wage in the country, next to Washington.
Tammy Laird is a cashier at Food 4 Less, and even though she’s worked her way up and no longer makes minimum wage, she used to years ago. She knows the 15 cent jump will make a big difference when it comes to the lives of others.
“A lot of people have lost their jobs in this area, and they are starting all over at a minimum wage job, and this is perfect, and a lot of those people have families, grand kids, and they need all the money they can get,” said Laird.
However, some people said the increased minimum wage still isn’t enough.
“It’s still poverty level. Nobody can live on that kind of money… nobody,” said Oregonian Janice Reed.
The minimum wage jump will also impact small businesses, like Abby’s Pizza. Abby’s said the higher wages will have a negative effect on their business.
“The consumer is not actually making more money, they are just paying more for what they are getting,” said Abby’s general manager, Shelley Hale.
Abby’s Pizza said they will have to increase prices and cut hours from their employees’ work schedules, big changes for a small increase.
“The prices are going to be comparative to the wages that they are getting, said Hale. “If it goes up one percent the food is going to go up one percent. Everything you buy is going to go up the same percentage as the increase in your minimum wage so it’s a no win situation.”
State officials said the minimum wage boost will help the state’s economy grow. The state Bureau of Labor and Industries said the increase will generate nearly $20 million in new economic activity for the state in 2014.