The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Second Group Looks to Raise Arizona Minimum Wage

by Brendan Coyne

Dec. 1, 2005 – A new coalition seeking to hoist Arizona’s wages filed ballot-initiative papers with the Secretary of State earlier this month. The measure would boost the state’s minimum wage by $2.60 beginning in 2007, in addition to attaching that wage floor to cost-of-living increases. The effort joins that of a second group that filed papers earlier this year proposing an incremental measure that would bring the wage floor to that level by 2008.

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Citing an inability to work with state legislators, the Arizona Minimum Wage Coalition applied for the ballot measure on November 16, hoping that voters will approve what their representatives will not, the Arizona Capitol Times reported Monday.

Full-time minimum wage workers in Arizona currently make $206 per week before taxes. The proposed wage hike would bring them to gross $310 weekly.

The coalition, which reportedly includes organized labor groups, small businesses and community organizations, is not formalized, has no website and does not have a final budget. It is led by Rebekah Friend, the head of the state AFL-CIO.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, the United Food and Commercial Workers donated $10,000 to the initiative’s committee, which must gather 122,612 signatures by July 6, 2006 in order to get the measure on the ballot. The group intends to use paid signature gatherers, the Capitol Times reported.

Fifteen states have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum, according to the Department of Labor. Washington state, at $7.35, has the highest pay floor in the nation.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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