Raise the Wage Nebraska submits signatures to get issue on ballot

The group wants to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage to $15/hour by 2026.
(10/11 NOW)
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 10:09 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2022 at 10:46 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Raise the Wage Nebraska (RTWN) submitted petitions containing more than 150,000 signatures to the Nebraska Secretary of State on Thursday.

The signatures are necessary to put an initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage on the November ballot.

RTWN said increasing the minimum wage will benefit nearly 150,000 working Nebraskans - 75% of all workers who will benefit are over 20 years old and nearly one-quarter are over 40. Additionally, 60,000 are working full-time.

Nancy Williams, President and CEO of No More Empty Pots and sponsor of the initiative petition said, “This initiative will improve the lives of tens of thousands of Nebraska families. 1 in 5 workers who will benefit is a parent supporting children and trying to make ends meet. The cost of groceries, housing and basics have gone up for years, and inflation is now at record highs, but the minimum wage just hasn’t kept up. No one working full-time should struggle to make ends meet.”

“Raising the minimum wage is a win/win for businesses and workers,” said Dave Titterington, owner of Wild Bird Habitat Stores in Lincoln and Omaha. “When you pay employees a living wage, they’re happier, they’re more dedicated, and they’re more productive. And raising the minimum wage will enable workers to spend more at local businesses all across Nebraska.”

The first increase would be in January 2023, taking minimum wage from $9.00 to $10.50 per hour.

“I’m a mom of two elementary-aged kids and a wife who has been part of the workforce for 19 years. I have worked in education, the service industry, retail, childcare, and human services – all earning minimum wage or barely above. I loved the work and the people, but my labor wasn’t as valued as much as it should be, and it made it nearly impossible to make ends meet,” said Cindy Meyer, who spoke at the media conference. “If everyone was earning at least $15.00 per hour, we would be able to take better care of ourselves, better care of our families, and contribute more to our communities.”

According to research from the Economic Policy Institute, 1 in 5 women workers in Nebraska will see their wages increase because of the initiative and 43% of Nebraska workers who will benefit have at least some college or an Associate’s degree. If the initiative passes, 25% of Black workers and 30% of Latino workers in Nebraska will see their wages go up.

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