PORTLAND, Ore. - About 200 employees of the city of Portland are in for a pay hike.
The city of Portland agreed Wednesday to raise the minimum wage for its own workers to $15 per hour. The raise is only for full-time employees and full-time contractors and will impact nearly 200 people. It will not include about 2,000 part-time municipal employees.
Advocates say that they hope the wage hike can be extended to part-timers too. Sarah Kowaleski is one of those part-time workers. She said that while she loves her job at Multnomah Arts Center, she is drowning in student debt.
"We run indispensable programs, provide indispensable services for the city and really just want to be valued for those, and I think we can work more functionally as a city if we're all being taken care of," she said.
City Council members Wednesday said they agree, stressing people like Kowaleski need a raise.
They said the city just can't afford it, and will be struggling to find the funds needed for raising full-time workers' wages, which, they have estimated, will cost $1.2 million.
Local advocates aren't stopping with the city of Portland, They hope to convince lawmakers in Salem to follow suit and raise Oregon's minimum wage to $15 per hour as well. Currently, it sits at $9.25.