RAISE THE WAGE STATEMENT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Raise the Wage Coalition Ends Ballot Campaign



February 29, 2016 

Contact: Courtney Graham (503) 330-8422

[email protected]


Raise the Wage Coalition Ends Ballot Campaign

Coalition will no longer collect signatures on Initiative Petitions 57, 58, or 59

Portland, Ore. – The Raise the Wage coalition announced today that it will suspend signature-gathering efforts to place Initiative Petitions 57, 58, and 59 on the November ballot. This decision follows the passage of Senate Bill 1532 in the Oregon House last week.

“Since the Raise the Wage campaign launched in July, our coalition has fought day-in and day-out to secure a raise for over half a million Oregonians currently struggling to make ends meet,” said Tom Chamberlain, President of the Oregon AFL-CIO. “The passage of Senate Bill 1532 marks significant progress towards that goal for working families across the state. We appreciate the Governor’s leadership on this issue, and her commitment to reaching a compromise that gives a real raise to working Oregonians while giving businesses the time they need to plan.” 

Senate Bill 1532, which passed the Oregon House on February 18, will raise Oregon’s minimum wage over six years, with different rates set in three different regions. It will raise the statewide minimum wage to $13.50, increase the minimum within the Portland Urban Growth boundary to $14.75, and set a lower minimum wage of $12.50 for 18 rural counties. The bill also includes an initial raise for workers this July – fifty cents for workers in the Portland UGB and urban counties and twenty-five cents for workers in rural counties. The Raise the Wage ballot measures would have gone into effect in 2017, raised the statewide minimum wage to $13.50 over two or three years, and restored the power to cities to set their own wages. 

“While this proposal diverges from our initial plan for raising the wage, it is overwhelmingly a win for Oregon workers – in large part because it gives a raise to over 100,000 minimum-wage workers this July,” Andrea Miller, Executive Director of Causa Oregon, explained. “Most notably, this bill contains no carve-outs or exceptions for different classes of workers, like farmworkers or restaurant workers, or for people just starting out in their career.” 

The Raise the Wage coalition filed Initiative Petitions 57, 58, and 59 in September of 2015, when it was unclear whether the legislature would take steps to raise Oregon’s minimum wage in the 2016 short session. In December, citing the threat of the ballot, Governor Brown brought together a group of representatives from both sides of the issue to reach a legislative compromise. 

“Our campaign was founded to fight for people like Gladys, who has worked at the Portland Airport for over eight years but never seen a raise above the minimum wage, who struggles to pay her mortgage every month, and has next to nothing saved for retirement,” said Heather Conroy, Executive Director of SEIU Local 503. “SB 1532 means that workers like Gladys will not only see an immediate raise this July but will be more financially secure in the future. While we know our work is not over to address the other issues facing working families—from racial equity to rising healthcare and housing costs—this raise is an important step forward and we know it will have significant positive impacts for Oregon families and our economy for years to come.”   



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read more