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Poll: Majority of West Virginians support $15 federal minimum wage

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 6:24 PM EST
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W.Va (WDTV) - A new poll out in February by the One Fair Wage Coalition claims that 63% of West Virginians support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.

“This increase is phased in overtime and it, in fact, allows consumption to increase,” said Coalition President Saru Jayaraman.

The federal minimum wage stands at $7.25. The last increase was in 2009. Many small businesses feel a $15 minimum wage could put them out of business. Jayaraman says that small businesses actually fair better in states with higher wages.

“Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Minnesota all have had higher small business growth rates and job growth and restaurant industry sales prior to the pandemic than West Virginia,” said Jayaraman.

On Thursday, a group of lawmakers, including West Virginia’s Senator Shelly Moore-Capito came out in favor of a phased in $10 federal wage increase. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says he would support an $11 minimum wage.

“I think that everybody that gets up in the morning and goes to work for 40 hours and goes to work 50 weeks out of the year should be above the poverty line,” Senator Manchin said.

Activist like Maselli says tipped workers like those who hold jobs in restaurant business deserve more. Right now, they are in what’s called the sub minimum wage group, they get about $2.13 an hour.

“Although the food service sector is one of the largest employers in the state, it provides some of the lowest wages,” said Maselli.

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