Alaska’s minimum wage is currently $7.75 per hour, 50 cents more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. If the initiative passes, the minimum wage would increase to $8.75 on January 1, 2015 and to $9.75 on January 1, 2016. After that, it would be adjusted each year for inflation, and, if necessary, adjusted to be $1 more than the federal minimum wage, if that were to increase to within $1 under the state minimum wage.
An informal questioning of a few of Kodiak’s business owners found that their employees make more than minimum wage.
Kim Piper the owner of Kodiak Print Master said the bill, if it passes, won’t affect her business at all.
“I pay above minimum wage,” she said.
One of Orion’s Sports owners, Steve Wielebski, does as well.
“It wouldn’t affect us at all,” Wielebski said. “We start our people out at more than that. I think the minimum wage should be raised.” He added that many of his employees make more than twice the current minimum wage.
“My minimum wage people are getting $10, $11, $12 dollars — that’s what we consider minimum wage,” said Ray Legrue, the owner of Henry’s Great Alaskan Restaurant.
He added that his servers make $15 or $20 an hour or more depending on what their tips are.
Part of the initiative states that employers “may not apply tips or gratuities bestowed upon employees as a credit toward payment of the minimum hourly wage required by this section.”
Legrue disagrees with this part.
“Some of the servers will make $100 or $200 a day in tips. I think the total minimum wage should go up, but people who have other income as part of their wage should not,” Legrue said.
The minimum wage initiative is Ballot Measure 3 and will be on the November 4 ballot along with several other initiatives.
Contact Julie Herrmann at firstname.lastname@example.org