State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian announced today that there will be no minimum wage increase in Oregon for 2016. The state’s minimum wage is tied to the national rate of inflation, and so goes up (or not) every year depending on the national CPI (Consumer Price Index). It seems that the national inflation rate has been about the same as it was in 2014. Therefore, we get no raise in Oregon’s minimum wage next year.
But we all know that prices have gone up here in Oregon. In fact even statistics show this is true. In the Portland-Salem area for example, the cost of food at home increased 3.3% and food away from home went up by 4,4% in the first half of 2015, compared to the first half of 2014. Rent in Portland is increasing at the fastest rate in the nation. According to a new report by Axiometrics, rent in Portland increased by 15% over the past year.
According to a Zillow report, rent in Portland increased 7.2% from January 2014 to January 2015, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics rent in the Portland-Salem area went up by over 5% in the first half of 2015. The situation has become so dire, in fact, that just yesterday the Community Alliance of Tenants held a press conference in Portland declaring a renter state of emergency.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that Portland is unique in our state when it comes to such price increases.
We’re paying more at the grocery store. We’re paying more at restaurants. We’re paying more for childcare and education too. We’re paying more for entertainment, at least those who can afford it. We’re paying more for movies, and we’re paying more at bars. We’re paying more for healthcare, and for our precious mason jars.
In this moment, the need for a $15 minimum wage couldn’t be any more apparent, and the Fight for $15 is stronger than ever here in the State of Oregon! We are fighting with workers all over the state who demanding $15 from their employers. We will be fighting for $15 at the state legislature next year, and Oregonians for 15 is holding a statewide signature gathering kickoff day of action on Saturday September 26th with volunteers and supporters of $15 in 20 Oregon cities so far having made commitments to go out and collect signatures to put a statewide $15 minimum wage on Oregon’s 2016 ballot.
Help us end poverty wages and win a raise for some 700,000 Oregon workers by joining the Fight the $15! Join a 15 Now Oregon chapter or start one in your town! Volunteer to gather signatures for the ballot measure! Have conversations with your friends and family about the need for $15. With your help, we will win the Fight for $15 in Oregon!