CHARLESTON, W.Va.–The House of Delegates Industry and Labor Committee has overwhelmingly approved legislation raising West Virginia’s minimum wage.

Under the bill, the minimum wage would rise from the current $7.25 an hour to $7.85 an hour July 1st and then rise again to $8.25 in July 2015.

Union members packed the cramped committee room Wednesday afternoon and looked on as lawmakers debated the bill before passing it on to the House Finance Committee on an 18-2 vote.

Bill supporters say the increase is long overdue.  West Virginia has not increased its minimum wage since 2008.

Delegate Meshea Poore (D-Kanawha) said raising the minimum wage will help people struggling to pay their bills.  “You have single family homes and that’s going to do a lot of good for the mother who’s trying to provide for her family.”

Delegate Troy Andes (R-Putnam) voted against the bill, saying it should be up to the employer and the employee to decide wages.  He also said labor leaders who arranged for the committee room to be packed were engaged in “political theater.”

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Comments

  • Mom

    Minimum wage is supposed to be for entry level work, it is not meant to support a family.If politicians want to support families with decent wages, they need to support bussiness, for example.. manufacturing business, that create better paying jobs. I work one job that pays well above minimum wage and actually supports my family. And a second job so we can afford the extras. I've been thru two reduction in work force events that have affected my wages and each time I retrained to fit the job market. It can be done my family and I are proof. I've worked minimum wage jobs to get by while retraining knowing it wasn't a living wage but it would show future employers I could do what had to be done.

    • Johnny Lounge

      Govt. Raising the Min wage is for one thing and one thing only , more tax collection . To think that Our Govt. really cares and fills our pain is ridiculous .
      If They were really interested in helping every American than they would stop printing 2 billion a day , printing money raises the cost of commodity's we count on.
      It's a double edge sword , print money then send subsidies to the needy that buy's less. Then increase the cost of living check and it go's on and on until the fat lady sing's.
      Help in this way! Remove the 6 % sales tax on food !
      Reduce the SS and 941 contribution's , if their serious about wanting worker's to have more take home pay them this will do it overnight. So stop with compassion routine it's insulting .

  • TB

    Once the increase is passed on to consumers - proportionally, the minimum wage earners will be making the same wage.

  • Hillbilly

    Businesses will just decrease the hours of people working and / or prices so their bottom line comes out the same... and the worker gets no gain.

  • David

    Minimum wage update

  • sam

    Why do big companies like Walmart buy and manufacture their goods in countries like China? It is simple, cheap labor. Did they lower the price of these goods when they were outsoursed? Absolutely not! Are companies like Walmart going to raise wages of their employees? Do away with minimum wage and we will have people earning $.27/hour.

    • Aaron

      I don't believe there's a knowledgeable economist alive that believes that sort of tripe.

      You speak of Wal Mart but there are plenty of people happy there. I've known several who went to work on time, were dependable and as a result, remained at minimum wage for lack of a better work, a minimum time.

      They received quarterly bonuses and as a result, their average wage was 1.5 times minimum wage.

      You can rag on Wal Mart all you want the simple truth is the majority of the workers there are unskilled or semi-skilled employees.

      It seems to me that anyone, regardless of who you work for, that wants to make more than minimum wage need to simply acquire a skill and the demand for their labor will increase.

  • Gary Z

    Its a good start but we need to bump it up 50 cents a year until it catches up with the buying power it had in 1968 - over $10/hour

    • Amanda

      You're right. Maryland has already pushed their state minimum to $11. This state really needs to get ahead of the curve, and quit dragging a decade behind it.

  • BIM Job

    The best thing they could do would be to abolish the minimum wage all together, get out of the way and let the market dictate wages. Believe it or not, there is a finite group of people who are willing/qualified to do every job out there and believe it or not employers will pay whatever the market dictates to get the employees they need to operate their business.

    • Mike

      Agreed. As a small business owner, I can CREATE JOBS for young, unskilled workers if the minimum wage laws were repealed! Wal Mart and McDonalds LOVE the minimum wage and hope that it is hiked... it will demolish ME and other small businesses (ie their competition)

      • What happened to WV?

        BIM Job and Mike,

        You are spot on. I am a business owner and pay everybody above minimum wage. There are way too many people wanting something for nothing! The work ethic and professionalism (dressing correctly for an interview) allows people to earn more. There is a competitive landscape that allows people to get ahead in life.

  • What happened to WV?

    This is from a business owner who used to own a business in ohio. I will explain what happens when the government demands for us to give raises. Prices increase on gas, rent, food, etc.,
    It does not mean if somebody makes minimum wage and they get a raise everybody gets a raise. Nobody who works for me makes minimum wage. Most businesses make pennies on the dollar and we are taxed heavily as well. I am fine with raising minimum wage, but everybody here needs to know the consequences.

  • Pickle Barrel

    $8.25? Is that all? Why not $15 like they want in New York and Chicago? WV is being shortchanged here!

    • Cooter

      Yep...hey, if a small increase is good, a larger increase is better. Don't tell me about unintended consequences, I don't wanna hear that, will be over there with my head buried in the sand, thank you very much.

    • BIM Job

      Why don't we just let the government set a wage for everyone at the same rate. That way it will be fair. We can all just turn in all our money and property to the government and let them distribute it equally to all. Then the government can tell us what job we each will do and where we will live and how many kids we can have and if we disagree with any of their decisions they can just exterminate us. Sounds exciting.

  • The truth

    It is a pay off to labor unions as it will trigger wage increases under many contracts.

    • wvtd

      true! the democrat politicians need the unions payoffs, I mean donations this election cycle more than ever.

  • The truth

    I laugh that want to request an initial 60 cent an hour increase and move it to dollar an hour but doing the math on the so called regular state employees "raise" amounts to 24 cents. I still find the 504.00 in a year a joke. More like 202.00 since it would not start until July. For all the people who say find another job I say that is what is happening. That's why you see complete turnover in jobs every 2 to 3 years.

  • charlene madiman

    the minimum wage in wv should be at least 15.00 an hour. to raise the minimum wage .60 an hour is an insult to the citizens of wv. this state is years behind in employee and employer relationships. I would like to see troy andes live on 7.25 an hour the gap between the poor and the rich is growing every year wv law makers need to accept that times are going to change and they can not stop the common citizen has had enough

    • Aaron

      Good lord, how do you justify a mininum wage of $15.00 an hour? If that is what an unskilled laborer is worth, what is a skilled laborer worth? What is a skilled tradesman worth? Do you realize the economic impact of doubling the minimum wage would have?

    • Mickey D's worker

      Yeah, you tell them! I deserve 15 and hour for what I do, it's simply not FAIR! Now pull around, your Big Mac is ready, that'll be $7.22...unless you also wanted fries with that.

    • just sayin

      Are you willing to give up your job so someone else can make $15.00 an hour? Employers will cut jobs if forced to increase the minimum wage....just sayin

    • Hillbilly

      You still think the person who cannot give me a hamburger, fries and diet coke and get it right (yes that simple, and it happens almost every time!) deserves $15 per hour???

  • Dont sit on your brain

    raising minimum wage will do nothing more than hurt others. While those getting the raise will have more disposable income, inflation and prices will rise. Thus hurting those that get no raise. So all you do is to hurt the middle class working American that is making between 9 and 16 dollars per hour.

  • Jason412

    It's a step in the right direction. I know a lot of people associate minimum wage with fast food and therefor are against raising it, but I recently found out a lot of caregiver's are paid minimum wage. And although they're employed by private companies their checks come from the state of WV. Seems to me someone that is basically trusted with an elderly persons life should be getting paid more then $7.25 an hour. Even $8.25 seems to low.

    As far as Delegate Andes and leaving it up to employers, I'd say that's a pretty unrealistic expectation. While there are decent employers who will pay well for quality there seem to be far more who pay exactly what is required and when there is an opportunity for a raise its 25 cents or 50 cents at a time.

    If you look at the minimum wage increases all the way back to the 60's there were very few times in history that it went 6 years without being raised, maybe once or twice before. Cost of living has definitely went up since 2008.

    • Aaron

      Do you not believe the market will decide a fair wage. If not, then why are McDonald's workers in North Dakota starting unskilled laborers $15 an hour?

      Also, those caregivers that you talk of that are making minimum wage, are those healthcare professionals such a certified nursing assistants or nurses or are they simply individuals who have received CPR training and look after elderly people?

      I know many who do the latter who in all honesty don't earn on the wage they receive.

      • Michael

        The reason Walmart and McDonalds pay $15.00 dollars an hour in ND is because of the Energy boom taking place on private land. Every able body person is working for the drilling oil/gas companies making nearly 100,000 a year. They are simply trying to get people to work. Every person who wants to work is. High paying jobs increase the middle class. Not raising the minimum wage, which leads to inflation for everyone and employers who use minimum wage workers reducing their labor force.

        • the truth

          Yep, it is supply and demand in ND. If you want to work you can make a good living. I understand they are having housing issues because of the influx of new people. Problem I see in West Virginia we have had a fifty year brain drain and welfare is a way of life not the last resort.

      • What happened to WV?

        People who live in North Dakota make 15 an hour because the work force is limited. Many people work in the oil fields. This happens in Texas as well.

      • Jason412

        Aaron, is that what you consider the market deciding a fair wage? ND is just 1 of 50 states. I would say a look at history is proof that the market will not balance it's self. Also, Michael is right as they are only paying that wage because it's their only way to attract employees. In other job markets, such as WV that will never happen. So to answer your question, no I don't think the market will decide a fair wage they will continue to pay bare minimum as they always have.

        • Aaron

          Even economist who support minimum wage laws and increases do not agree with you Jason. They know that supply and demand is a much better vehicle for deciding the "fairest" wage. North Dakota is proof of that.

          • Jason412

            It's not the entire state of ND so stop portraying it like every Mcdonalds worker in ND is getting paid 15$ an hour

            So you have 1 company, in 1 small section of a state, a section just recently experiencing unprecedented economic growth due to an Oil boom, and that is supposed to be an example of what? If you flood an area with 100k a year diploma only no experience required jobs, of course 15k a year jobs are going to have to pay more to keep employees.

            When any West Virginian with a diploma, a drivers license, and no criminal record can go get a 100k a year job then your argument would make sense.

            In WV if you only have a diploma, what do you think the chances of getting an entry level job starting at 100k a year would be?

          • Aaron

            North Dakota spurred 70 years of population decline and led the nation in population increase in 2010 by percentage.

            North Dakota created a legacy fund that accumulated for 5 years before it can be touched and by 2017, that fund will hold $3 billion dollars.

            Everyone in North Dakota is benefiting so your analysis of North Dakota is inaccurate.

            As to the rest of your comments, is there a point? Am I to take it that you believe that were it not for the government, the United States would be paying Chinese labor rates?

            I am curious though, why didn't you answer my question about the caregivers? You claim there are "caregivers" taking care of elderly people making minimum wage. My question still stands. Is this CNA's or nurses making minimum wage?

            Also, I'm curious, if you think an unskilled worker is worth $10.50 an hour, what is a semi-skilled employee worth? What about a skilled laborer? Or a skilled tradesman? What wages do we pay them if we raise the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour?

            Also, are you aware of what an increase would do to the mean wage in the United States?

            I'll await your response.

          • Morgantown

            I'm not taking offense your minimum wage argument, Aaron. I'm taking offense to your arguments concerning healthcare workers. Registered nurses make a very decent salary (lower in WV, but COL is also lower). LPN's, CNA's, and other types of nursing aides make the bare minimum. They work just as hard as the RN's making the larger salaries, and in many cases, even harder. They all have to maintain certifications and taking care of elderly and/or sick people is back-breaking work. I agree with Jason that 8.25 is very low. To say that the market would decide a fair wage for healthcare workers is ridiculous, especially with the conversion to Obamacare. You speak as if these workers don't deserve more than minimum wage as "caregivers". It's offensive and just plain wrong.

          • Aaron

            I'm k

          • Aaron

            I'm not so sure I agree with all your numbers Morgantown because I know LPN's who make $12 to $15 per hour but I do agree that there is a faction of health care workers who are underpaid. That is not what I was addressing though.

            Jason stated that there are health care workers earning minimum wage who are responsible for caring for elderly. I'm merely trying to ascertain what certifications these workers he is referring to has and where they work.

            I ask because I know there is a group of workers who are paid to essentially set with elderly people who have little healthcare training.

            If that is the workers he is referring to, as I suspect it is and understand I am not trying to demean the work those individuals do, I believe he is being disingenuous in classifying those individuals as health care workers.

          • Jason412

            Aaron, once again, your example to represent the entire country is 1 out of 50 states.

            Everyone in ND may be benefiting, but they're certainly not making the 15$ an hour working at Mcdonalds you implied.

            The caregivers are high school graduates. They are, in fact, labeled part of the health care industry. They do more then "sit with the elderly" Things like bathing them, cooking, cleaning, taking them to doctors appointments, filling prescriptions, or whatever else I'm not sure. So you put that on the same level as someone handing you your burgers at Mcdonalds?

            You keep harping on degreees and certifications more then the actual work. Most people in the gas industry don't have a degree, they get paid 100k. A UPS driver with a diploma who does what is essentially unskilled labor makes 31$ an hour. If UPS can afford to pay their employees that, I don't believe Mcdonalds couldn't pay $9 an hour

            So what is your suggestion Aaron? Leave minimum wage where it's at and never think about it again? Once again you talk about how wrong I am, without offering even 1 shred of a respectable idea.

            Your posts are all questions. Hey? How? about? telling? us? what? you? think? should? happen? For someone who claims to be so sure of what they say, you sure as hell don't sound like it.

            I'm curious why you didn't answer my question, what do you think the chances of someone with nothing more then a diploma and a license going and getting a 100k job in WV today? I'll answer, slim to none are what the chances are. When there are competitive entry level positions in WV that require only a diploma and one job is paying $40 an hour and Mcdonalds is still trying to pay $7.25 then the minimum wage will balance its self out.

            I'll? Await? Your? Response?

      • Becca

        I have to say there are many of us that do not get paid fair prices.. I am an in home health care provider and make 7.25 an hour.. That doesn't cover rent in a month. And since my job requires so muh traveling I have to buy tires and something is always goog wrong with my car.. Yes it would greatly help if certain people got raises but I'm sorry McDonald's does not need 10-15 dollars an hour that's just a little to much money to flip burgers..

        • Becca

          Sorry for the misspelled words it's my phone.. Not because I'm from wv ;)

    • Low Rider

      5% of full-time workers in the U.S. earn minimum wage. The minimum wage is usually a starting wage, and within months employees typically start receiving increases and earning more.

      Helping the tired and the poor is an old union argument to "raise the floor". Once the floor is raised, Unions demand more! I've heard it before from Union members..."I can't believe they are only paying us X dollars above the minimum wage"!

      I am not arguing against a small increase in the minimum wage...but those people who believe the wage should be $15 per hour or more do not understand economics.

    • The bookman

      Jason,

      For a smart guy, absolutely no sarcasm, you baffle me. Read the story. All you need to know is there. Unions packed the room. Do you think they make minimum wage, or are they advocating the increase so that all wages get a bump? This is not about improving the standard of living for a low skilled service industry employee or the health care attendant of which you speak .

      Go ahead. Mandate by state order what every person should make and remove any ability of business to improve wages based on merit. Contrary to popular belief, business does not have a bottomless pit of capital to spend on labor. The money to pay for labor comes from revenue. Increases in labor costs require increases in revenue, or decreases in product quality, or decreases in profit margins.

      • Jason412

        Bookman,

        I'm not saying raise it to $15 an hour and ruin small businesses. But $7.25 is an absolutely unlivable wage. I think $9.00 maybe $9.25 is acceptable.

        In a better world, there would be no need to mandate it. But that's not the world we live in. I was watching a tv show the other day I think was called "Inside Mcdonald's" where they were interviewing the CEO of McDonalds. In the interview he basically says when the minimum wage is raised he'll pay it, but only when it's raised.

        People absolutely can not live on $7.25 an hour and if you leave it up to corporations like McDonalds they'll continue to pay just the $7.25 despite the fact they know the cost of living is increasing significantly. I understand McDonald's isn't a hard job but regardless of the job if someone is working a full time job they should be above the Federal poverty line.

        Do you not think 6 years is to long?

        • Jason412

          I posted this before, but I feel it's worth repeating as far as cost of living goes.

          In 1997 the minimum wage was $5.15, gas was on average $1.40 a gallon.

          In 2013 minimum wage is $7.25, and gas is around $4 a gallon.

          So while the price of gas has increased $3 per gallon the minimum wage has increased barely over $2. That's a 185% increase in gas prices in the same time min wage increased only 40%

          Also, it's worth repeating, the $1.60 minimum wage of 1968 comes out to something like $10-$11 when adjusted for inflation.

          • WV Worker

            The price of gasoline was $0.35 in 1968 and the minimum wage was $1.35. Average gasoline price in WV today is $3.35. Using your analogy the minimum wage today should be $12.92

          • Aaron

            $10.71 but if you adjusted the minimum wage based on productivity than it should be $21.50.

            Given that the argument for raising the minimum wage is profits from greedy corporations, why not raise it to that level as they can clearly pay it. After all, look at how much profit McDonald's earns.

          • Jason412

            I'm not sure what math you used WV Worker but that wasn't supposed to say minimum wage should be based off gas prices, it was just an example of cost of living.
            Regardless,
            $5.15 x 185% = 9.52

            So if minimum wage rose at the same percentage since 1997 as gas did then it would be $9.52 which is acceptable, but that's not what I was thinking when I did the original math.

            Aaron, there are far more arguments to raising the minimum wage then corporate greed. That is one small part of a much bigger issue.

        • Becca

          Wv worker idk where you live but it's 3.49 where I'm at but just down the road it's 3.34.. Lol

  • syd

    60 cents an hour multiplied by 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year is $1,248 per year. Legislature is fine ordering private business to pay its employees more but won't give it's own employees a raise. Hypocrits.