Sunday, January 23, 2022

Play

Despite a failed attempt in the U.S. Senate, more than 200 business owners call for federal reforms to strengthen election laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court deals another blow to abortion providers.

Play

President Biden gets cheers and jeers as he marks his first year in the White House, the Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from Ivanka Trump, and the Supreme Court rejects another challenge to the Texas abortion law.

Play

Expanded broadband akin to electrification in rural America 80 years ago; small Wyoming grocery store survives monopolization; revitalized Kansas town gets national recognition; and Montana's Native communities look for voter suppression work-arounds.

Labor Groups: ND Keeps Losing Ground on Minimum Wage

Play

Thursday, January 6, 2022   

The start of the new year saw a number of states boost their minimum wage, but not North Dakota. Labor leaders say it's remained at $7.25 an hour for far too long, especially with neighboring states continuing to go higher.

South Dakota, Montana and Minnesota rang in the new year with higher minimum wages, with those increases tied to inflation.

Kooper Caraway, president of the South Dakota Federation of Labor, said not only does it put more money in the hands of workers and their families, but it helps to keep jobs filled.

"Since the minimum wage was increased and tied to inflation, South Dakota's always had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country," Caraway observed. "And the good thing is that we also have a robust labor movement, and that robust labor movement is raising wages much higher than the minimum wage."

South Dakota's latest increase, the result of a voter-approved measure in 2014, brought its wage to $9.95 an hour.

In North Dakota, worker advocates fear residents will abandon the state, even with jobs available, because the lower threshold will make it harder to survive. Last year, North Dakota lawmakers rejected a proposed hike, with concerns raised about the impact on businesses.

Landis Larson, president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO, said it is frustrating cost-of-living measures are similar in the four-state region. He argued it gives North Dakota policymakers no excuse for not taking action.

"They really want to do their best to make a friendly business climate, but they forget about the worker climate," Larson asserted. "It's a two-way street."

Rep. LaurieBeth Hager, D-Fargo, was behind last year's plan to increase North Dakota's minimum wage, and said being far behind other states is especially troubling right now.

"When you look at the increases in housing costs, and fuel costs and grocery costs, all of those things are exponentially rising, and the minimum wage has just bottomed out," Hager stated.

Hager added a more likely scenario in which North Dakota increases its minimum wage is by taking it to the voters, but other supporters say such a plan has to be tied to inflation.

Disclosure: North Dakota AFL-CIO contributes to our fund for reporting on Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 to fill the seat previously held by Republican Jeff Flake. (Flickr)

Social Issues

A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…


Environment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …

Environment

As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …


While such issues as tax cuts are getting attention in the Iowa Legislature, some advocacy groups hope policymakers don't lose sight of programs they say would improve health outcomes. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…

Social Issues

North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, and groups working …

The investigation by multiple states' attorneys general into the student-loan practices of Navient dates back to 2017. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …

Social Issues

After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …

Social Issues

Bridgeport is one of six U.S. cities selected for an 18-month project kicking off this month, to create more education and career opportunities for …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021