RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — For five years workers and advocates have been pushing to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in North Carolina. This week a bill was filed to do just that.
But without the support of the Republicans who control the General Assembly, it doesn’t appear to have the support it would need to pass.
“Every day I provide crucial care,” Cummie Davis said.
Davis puts a face on the fight to raise the minimum wage. She said she works two part-time jobs, one at a nursing home and a second as a home health aide.
“I get no health care benefits, no 401k, no paid sick days and I haven’t taken a vacation in five years,” Davis explained during a virtual press conference Thursday.
Workers and activists have held several rallies in our area, calling for the minimum wage to be increased.
It currently sits at $7.25 an hour and hasn’t been raised in nearly 12 years. Advocates said more than a million workers statewide would be impacted, the majority over 21 years old.
“I have watched healthcare workers be underpaid for decades, we’re getting little crumbs, for the hard work that we do,” Davis said.
“For one group of people it’ll be great but for two other groups, not so great,” Skip Stam, a former state legislator and now Vice Chairman of the Board at the John Locke Foundation.
CBS said went to Stam to get a better idea of what’s behind the opposition.
Stam said some people’s work is just not worth $15 an hour and that it could lead to inflation.
“It raises all salaries a little bit, and if you’re not having additional productivity, at the same time, that causes inflation,” Stam said.
He explained that $9 or $10 an hour would be more realistic.
“What a minimum wage is, is not a decree that employers have to raise everyone’s wages, it’s a decree it is illegal to have anyone work for you and pay them less than that,” Stam said.
The bill would bump up the minimum wage in steps, to $10.35 an hour in 2022 and $15 in 2023.