By Cash Michaels –
A federal $15/hr. minimum may have faltered in the US Senate for now, but that doesn’t stop Democrats in the NC Senate from proposing the minimum wage hike for citizens.
But just as in Congress, it’s highly unlikely that Tar Heel Republicans will go for it.
Senate Bill 447—the “Living Wage for NC Workers” bill, sponsored by Democratic state senators Mujtaba A. Mohammed (Mecklenburg), Natalie Murdock (Durham), and Julie Mayfield (Buncombe) and filed on March 31—is described as “an act increasing the state’s minimum wage to fifteen dollars per hour over five years, then annually adjusting the minimum wage automatically by increases in the cost of living; ending the sub-minimum wage for individuals with disabilities; amending the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers; and ending the exemption for domestic workers.”
The current minimum wage employers in North Carolina are required to pay workers is $7.25/hr., the same as the current federal minimum.
Under SB 447 if passed, the statewide minimum wage would go from $7.25 to $8.80 per hour as of January 1, 2022. One year later it would rise to $10.35/hr. On January 1, 2024, it would reach $12/hr; one year later, $13/hr., and finally, on January 1, 2026, the minimum wage for North Carolina wage earners would become $15/hr.
Those proposed incremental increases would be subject to what the federal minimum is at that time. If Congress does decide to raise the federal minimum wage by January 1, 2022 to $15/hr., that would automatically supersede whatever North Carolina’s minimum wage would be at that time.
As it stands now, any positive movement on the federal $15 minimum wage proposal looks dead in the water. The Senate parliamentarian determined the amendment did not comply with Senate budget rules and had to be taken out of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package several weeks ago.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), forced a vote on a freestanding amendment for the proposal, and it failed 42-58.
The Biden administration vowed to get the $15-per-hour amendment passed later, but has not said when or how.