New North Carolina law impacts state’s minimum wages

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The bill passed by lawmakers Thursday putting a stop to Charlotte’s transgender ordinance includes language that impacts more than just the LGBT community.

It also allows the state to have control over minimum wage rates, meaning local governments can’t set their own.

Experts who spoke with WNCT say it is legal for state leaders to create the legislation.

“Local governments are creatures of the state, so local governments can only do what the state allows them to do,” said Dr. Carmine Scavo, East Carolina University professor.

The portion of the bill doesn’t change the minimum wage; it doesn’t directly affect what people will make. What it does do is take away another option.

While no local municipalities in North Carolina have set different wages than the state, some wanted to make changes and now they can’t.

Matthew Roberts has worked multiple minimum wage jobs including Burger King and Cici’s pizza.

With a family to feed, $7.25 is just not enough.

“It doesn’t work out. You really can’t do it. No way that you can take care of your family off eight dollars an hour. It’s no way possible,” said Roberts.

While North Carolina’s newest law doesn’t change what Roberts will make. It diminishes his faith in North Carolina’s legislative system and takes away any hope he had for higher wages.

“That’s another sign to show that the state of North Carolina doesn’t care about certain individuals, the working class people,” he said.

A portion of the bill states that wage levels of employees, hours of labor, payment of earned wages and the well-being of minors are subjects of concern requiring legislation.

That leaves not only Roberts, but local officials in shock.

Greenville City Council Member Kandie Smith says this is not the first time legislators have taken rights away from local governments.

“For this to come up prematurely without us even knowing is very shocking and disappointing.”

For Roberts and others who advocate for livable wages, this is just another example of the legislature letting the citizens down.

“There it goes again, the legislature is choosing when there’s an opportunity to do good, they choose to do evil instead,” said Don Cavellini, of Pitt Co. Coalition Against Racism.

Roberts believes that everyone deserves to be treated equally.

“I have a right to live like you. Maybe I don’t think like you, look like you or even succeed in the some things like you have done; I still should have a right to live comfortably,” he said.

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