by Kevin Brown | November 14, 2014
PORTLAND, Ore. – After months of negotiating, AFSCME Local 88 and Multnomah County reached a tentative agreement to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the 2014-2017 contract for county employees.
The agreement is a major improvement for the county’s lowest-paid public service workers, a number of whom qualify for public assistance. The increase is scheduled to be phased in during three years, with the minimum salary being raised this year to $13 an hour (retroactive to July 1), $14 on July 1, 2015, and $15 on July 1, 2016.
“Increasing the minimum wage to $15 is a step toward continuing the work of bringing economic security to hardworking families in Oregon,” said Deirdre Mahoney-Clark, the president of Multnomah County Employee’s Union-AFSCME Local 88. “When workers make a decent, living wage they don’t need to rely on government assistance programs to help them and their families survive.”
Despite nationwide support for a higher minimum wage for all workers, the federal government has thus far failed to act on it. Yet local and state governments are taking matters into their own hands. In June of this year, Seattle City Council members voted to increase the minimum wage and this past Election Day, voters in four states and voters in San Francisco did so as well. Supporters of an Oregon statewide minimum wage increase are signing this petition.
In addition to the minimum wage increase, Local 88 members will receive a 2.7 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase, retroactive to July 1 of this year. Their health care plans and cost sharing remain the same for the time being, but there will be a re-opener available starting Jan. 1, 2016, allowing employees to maintain the best level of benefits possible as the Affordable Care Act is implemented.
The tentative agreement is under review by Local 88 members and will be in effect if ratified by members.
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