State's labor leaders urge $9 hourly wage in NH
Increasing the minimum wage is one of a number of bills labor groups said they will support to improve the lives of workers and their families.
He said increasing the minimum wage is the most important item as it sends a “strong message we are not going to allow people to live below the poverty level in this state.”
But opponents of the increase say it might be a short-term boost in the economy, but in the long-term will cost jobs and drive up inflation.
Bruce Berke, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said raising the wage to $9 an hour is a 24 percent increase.
The longer term impacts have negative repercussions on the economic climate, he said.
“Work in this country should be valued, rewarded and respected,” Shuler said. “It is not a question of whether we can afford to reward hard work — we can’t afford not to. Income inequality is greater today than it’s been since the Great Depression.”
Last year, lawmakers attempted to reestablish the state minimum wage and to increase it, but those bills were either killed or sent back to committees. However, several similar bills will be introduced this session.
MacKenzie said labor groups would also support a bill promoting equal pay and removing provisions forbidding employees from disclosing their wages, and another that better defines working conditions for temporary employees.
Also on labor’s agenda are bills to limit fees charged to worker paid with payroll cards, to establish a state prevailing wage law for state-funded capital projects, and a bill requiring contractors on state projects to file certified payroll reports to include workers classifications and rates of pay.
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