The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

March 6, 2014

Committee: Slow minimum wage hike

Three years to get to $8.75 per hour

CHARLESTON — Compromise negotiations between labor and industry resulted in a minimum-wage hike that achieves the same result — $8.75 per hour — but takes three years to get there instead of two, while decreasing the initial year’s earnings hourly increase by 50 cents.

That’s the thrust of the bill that passed out of the Senate Finance Committee  Wednesday.

Sen. Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley, said the decrease takes $1,040 away from minimum wage workers in the first year and $520 in the second, before raising wages to the $17,850 annual salary assuming one week of unpaid vacation.

Unger questioned Jan Vineyard of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association about her support of the bill.

“Have you been for this bill all along?” Unger asked.

“No,” Vineyard replied.

“We can live with it,” she said.

“Are you for it?” he asked again.

“I will support the bill as it is,” she said.

Raymona Kinneberg, vice-president of Bill J. Crouch and Associates, a health care consulting service, said minimum wage workers are worried that the increase would put them above the income level allowed for receiving services such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid.

“If you raise it by 75 cents they will fall out of those programs,” she said.

“People would need to maintain their eligibility for other benefits.”

Kinneberg used a health benefits example.

“If they start earning 140 percent of the poverty level, then they’ll have to start paying through the marketplace for their insurance,” she said. “The impact is not just the increase in salary.”

She said minimum wage earners would actually want to cut their hours so they could still qualify for benefits.

Morgantown resident Jamie Gudiel, a two-job minimum wage worker, said Kinneberg got it wrong.

After the committee meeting, Gudiel said she was “offended” that Kinneberg spoke for minimum wage workers she doesn’t know.

“The point is we want to make a better wage,” Gudiel said. “We want to be able to afford our groceries. We want to make something for ourselves.”

The 35-year-old mother of three said she and others who work with her in the retail industry want to make a better life for themselves and their children.

“(Kinneberg) just pushed us back a step,” she said. “$8.75 is not going to rock the earth; it’s not going to change my life, but it is a start to a better life.”

No one representing labor was present at the meeting, but AFL-CIO President Kenneth Perdue said his organization would not oppose the bill.

“We’re not taking care of working people by starting out at 25 cents. We supported the bill in the House when it was 75 cents. We believe people need to take care of their kids and keep their heads above water,” Perdue said.

Sen. Doug Facemire, D-Braxton, said in the meeting that the entire Senate should be representing the working class.

“I ask you to vote your conscience,” he said. “I don’t think anybody here is going to argue that $7.25 is what these people should be making.”

Unger and Facemire voted against the amendment to reduce the initial increase. Both voted for the bill to pass out of committee.

The Finance Committee also passed the resolution to put the Nonprofit Youth Organization Tax Exemption Support Amendment, which would allow the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Fayette County to make a profit.

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • Repairs set for I-77 tunnel

    Some lanes of an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border where a truck fire occurred are being rerouted for repairs.

    July 29, 2014

  • Veterans crisis center coming to Clarksburg

    The long delays for veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals have prompted The American Legion to plan a short-term crisis center in Clarksburg.

    July 29, 2014

  • Weekend tornado confirmed in West Virginia

    The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Pleasants and Ritchie counties over the weekend.

    July 29, 2014

  • Rahal: Fund VA reform ‘for our veterans’

     On the cusp of Congress’s lengthy summer break, factions sparring over legislation to strengthen health care and funding reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs may have reached a compromise.
    Although final details are still in the works, the top two negotiators, Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., released a joint statement that said they had “made significant progress toward and agreement on legislation to make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals.”

    July 29, 2014

  • Attorney general reaches $950,000 settlement with three financial groups

    West Virginia’s attorney general has reached a $950,000 settlement with three companies over allegations of antitrust law violations.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman convicted in teen’s slaying moved

    A Monongalia County teenager has been transferred to a state prison to complete her sentence for the slaying of another teenager.
    The Lakin Correctional Center near Point Pleasant said Friday Rachel Shoaf has been booked at the Division of Corrections prison. Shoaf turned 18 last month and had been held in a juvenile facility.

    July 26, 2014

  • Board suspends clinic operator’s license

    A West Virginia board Friday suspended the license of the operator of a pain management clinic where investigators found syringes were being reused. It was the second disciplinary action involving the doctor’s license within a decade.

    July 26, 2014

  • Candidates: Leave global warming debate to scientists

    Two West Virginia congressional hopefuls said during their first candidate forum matchup Thursday that the global warming debate is better left to scientists.
    Democrat Nick Casey and Republican Alex Mooney added that other countries should step up in reducing carbon emissions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lawsuit filed over Dirty Girl Mud Run

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn’t be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVa. man sues GM over wife's death

    A West Virginia man has filed a lawsuit against General Motors Corp., claiming a defective ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt caused a 2006 accident that killed his pregnant wife.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads