Tuesday, March 12, 2019

New Mexico’s Minimum Wage Bill Moves Forward

SANTA FE, NMOn Tuesday, Senate Bill 437 the minimum wage proposal sponsored by Sen. Clemente Sanchez— passed the House Labor, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee. The proposal was amended to resemble House Bill 31, proposed by Rep. Miguel Garcia, which proposed a higher minimum wage.

With the approved amendments to SB 437, the proposal progressively raises the state’s minimum wage to $12/hr by 2022, solidifies the tipped wages at 30% of the minimum wage, and it allows for annual minimum wage increases tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) –to adjust for inflation.

Below is a statement from the minimum wage coalition, consisting of  Somos Un Pueblo Unido, OLÉ, El CENTRO, NM Working Families Party, EQNM, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, NM CAFé, the Center for Civic Policy, and NM Voices for Children:

“With just a few days left in the session, there’s no room for error to ensure workers across New Mexico get the raise they deserve. The amendments approved by the House Labor, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee represent a fair compromise that has been agreed on by workers as well as business owners across the state.”

Below are reactions from low-wage workers across New Mexico:

“Working as a waitress in Albuquerque I have seen how an increase in the minimum wage has helped better the lives of many workers like me who serve your food, take care of your children and clean your homes,” said Margarita Castruita Flores a member of El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos. “However, as my mother’s caretaker and the mother of children that continue to depend on me, a minimum wage of $12 is still a poverty wage, but it is a step in the right direction to help families like me better provide for their families. I commend the actions taken by committee members today to ensure that a common sense bill that stands up for workers moves forward.”

“Since I was a young girl, I was raised by my grandparents. Even though they gave me everything they could to ensure I had a good life, we were not prepared for the hardships of me being in college. I work part time and barely scrape by. I want a better life for myself and know education is the key. While I’m in school though, I still worry about paying bills on time, having a roof over my head, transportation, and food. I know so many people in my situation as well, many with young kids to raise. This is why I support $12 minimum wage and need you to help me fight for better wages,” said Rebecca Melendez, leader with NM CAFé.