$15 Minimum Wage for N.C. Workers?

Date: July 17, 2018

When lawmakers voted to overturn Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget last month, they made North Carolina the first state to adopt a $15 minimum wage for most of its state workers. This means roughly 9,000 people on the state payroll are getting a raise.

The wage adjustment applies to state agency jobs and those within the University of North Carolina system, but not to temporary workers or public school or community college employees making less than $15 per hour, including public school bus drivers, teaching assistants, and custodians. Even despite this omission of workers, the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) praised the move, although the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) lamented that Gov. Cooper’s budget, which included more people, wasn’t approved.

Union reps will no doubt continue to push for a broader application of this wage adjustment, and the change could also encourage minimum wage advocates to push for a statewide $15 minimum wage for private sector workers as well. In fact, the Winston-Salem Journal editorial board has already begun calling for this: “If a $15 minimum wage is good for state workers, it’s good for everyone.”

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