Etheridge applauds minimum wage hike

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) voted late Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour.

The legislation passed the Senate as well, and the President said he will sign it into law. The pay raise will affect at least 211,000 North Carolinians.

“I am pleased that the Congress put working families first by increasing the minimum wage. A pay raise for North Carolina’s working families is well deserved and long overdue,” said Etheridge. “The increase in the minimum wage will make a real difference to families, helping them to afford some of life’s very basic necessities.”

The minimum wage raise was included in H.R. 2206, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007. The bill will raise the minimum wage by $2.10 over a two-year period. The bill raises the minimum wage to $5.85 60 days after enactment; to $6.55 one year later and to $7.25 one year after that. North Carolina’s minimum wage is currently $6.15. The federal minimum wage had not been raised since 1997, and when adjusted for inflation it is at its lowest level in 51 years.