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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  • My 2 cents

    History shows that the only way people will not be taken advantage of by businesses is to unite and utilize collective bargaining to get decent wages and benefits. That is why companies hate unions they make huge profits off the backs of their workers and as long as they hold all the cards there will not be a middle class in America. We are seeing that sector of our population decreases every year. What we need more of from our goverment is to protect our rights to organize and place severe penalties on companies who interfere and obstruct the rights of workers to orginize and protect there way of life and there by force companies to SHARE in the wealth. Other wise we will become another country of the have and have nots. Not everyone in third world countries are only the working class. If you don't believe me research it and by the way they don't have the right to orginize and bargin for a better standard of living.

  • Really?

    Is it not true that products are priced due to cost of producing them? So that means with the cost of fixed expenses & semi fixed expenses, including utilities, insurance, raw materials, rent, machine maintenance, cost of upgrades, etc., dictate the price of the product, right? Then if minimum wage is increased to eventually $15.00 an hour for minimally qualified workers, it will require workers with a qualified resume including needed training & knowledge to be paid $25.00 to $75.00 an hour by businesses to justify the difference between unskilled & skilled labor? With the entire labor force being required to be given a raise to keep valued skilled labor in needed positions to offset the mandatory minimum wage increase, what will the cost need to be to show a profit of a product, & will that product be affordable, or will there be a labor force reduction of unskilled laborers to be able to pay qualified workers, & keep the product affordable? It is a ripple effect, with the end result being an overall increase in products, services, etc. In other words the fast food industry will need to offer a Fun Meal for $25.00 to offset the costs of doing business across the board in my humble opinion.

  • What happened to WV?

    Every time minimum wage goes up, the cost of living goes up, ie gas, milk, etc. The problem is that the wages in the middle and top don't go up and we as business owners cannot afford for them to. It is our desire to pay our team a liveable wage.

  • Dale McCray

    Said to see so many selfish and greedy remarks from West Virginians who claim to care about there fellow citizens. Do we really need to feel that superior to others for our lives to have meaning. If anybody thinks the current minimum wage is adequate for any job they have my sympathy.

  • Christal Gibson

    I was there, single mother struggling to make ends meat. I remember when minimum wage was $3.15 an hour. Raising min. wage isn't going to solve anything. It is only going to create more poverty and more problems. When I first moved back to Lewis Co from Cabell, I took a job with my uncle at the local trash company. I started out at $6.50 an hour, min. wage was $5.15. After my trial period was up my pay was bumped up to $7/hr, shortly after min wage goes up. So instead of making over min wage, I'm back to making min wage. After about 6 months we got a pay raise and for at least 4 yrs I scraped by on $8.50/hr. Milk went for $1 something to $3 something, ground beef went from 99 cents a pound to $2.98 a pound. Our economy is shot and raising min wage is just going to make things worse. It's going to break this country.

  • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.