minimum wage


Governor Gina Raimondo has signed into law a new minimum wage; set to take effect next year. The wage will increase by sixty cents.

The increase takes effect January 2016. The hourly wage will go from $9 an hour to $9.60 an hour.

Some lawmakers including the Governor and sponsors of the legislation had called for a larger. But the business community pushed back, saying that would place too high a burden on business owners.

Compromise Emerges On Minimum Wage Hike

May 27, 2015
Aaron Read / RIPR

Lawmakers in Rhode Island's House and Senate labor committees are considering a compromise this week that would increase the state's minimum wage.  But the proposed 60-cent wage hike is less than what some lawmakers had hoped to see. 

Currently, Rhode Island's minimum wage is $9 an hour. The original bill would have hiked the wage to $10.10 as of 2016.  The bill now calls for an increase to $9.60 per hour.

Business leaders are expressing concerns about Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, effective in 2016.

Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce said she doesn't oppose the wage hike, but points out it could cause unintended consequences, especially for small businesses.

“Which would be potentially the shrinkage of hours for workers and also the potential that fewer jobs would be created,” said White.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

During an appearance Monday at United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 328, Governor Gina Raimondo called on the General Assembly to raise Rhode Island's $9 minimum wage to $10.10, effective in January.

"What we're here today to talk about is a concrete way that we can spark the comeback of Rhode Island and Rhode Island's economy, by putting money in the pockets of hardworking Rhode Islanders," Raimondo said, speaking before a group of union members. "That's what today is about."

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Representative Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick) joins Political Roundtable to discuss the arrest this week of State Representative Joseph Almeida (D-Providence); Shekarchi's ties to Governor Gina Raimondo and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello; the proliferation of tax-cut proposals at the General Assembly this year; and the outlook for a hike in the minimum wage.

City Hotel Workers Go On Hunger Strike

Jun 16, 2014

Four Providence hotel workers and one Central Falls City Councilor have announced plans to go on a hunger strike to protest a provision in the Rhode Island budget regarding minimum wage.

The workers plan to camp in tents outside the Statehouse and refuse to eat until their demand is met. They want cities and towns to be able to determine their own minimum wage. Last week, the Providence City Council decided to put raising the minimum wage for hotel workers on the ballot in November.

While fellow Democrats Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo support raising the minimum wage, Clay Pell is upping the ante by calling for pushing the wage to $10.10, effective July 1.

In letters to legislative leaders, Pell also called for annual adjustments to the wage based on the Consumer Price Index.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In the governor's race Republicans are responding to Democratic proposals to raise the state’s minimum wage.

It’s an issue that’s dividing candidates along party lines.

Providence Mayor and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras was the first to give specifics about a plan to hike the minimum wage.

He’s proposing a two-dollar ten cent increase over the next four years; from eight dollars to ten-dollars ten cents by 2018.

Fellow Democratic candidate for governor, and state treasurer Gina Raimondo wants to see the same increase, but by 2015.

Yesterday, fast food restaurant workers and their supporters went on strike around the country, including here in Rhode Island. Their demand: $15 an hour instead of the minimum wage (which will be $8 in January here in RI).

Fast Food Workers Protest For Higher Wages

Dec 5, 2013
John Bender / RIPR

Demonstrators and workers gathered to protest the minimum wage fast food chain Wendy’ s Thursday afternoon in Warwick.

Dozens of people gathered in the light rain in front of Wendy’s on Warwick Ave demanding an increase in lowest level pay from seven dollars seventy-five cents to fifteen dollars an hour.

The protest was one of one-hundred strikes going on in different cities throughout the country. 

Protestor Bounche Dorbor of Central Falls has been working at Wendy’s for the last five years making seven dollars seventy-five cents an hour.

Organized labor has been beset in recent years with declining membership in the private sector and a corresponding drop in clout at the Rhode Island Statehouse.  Unions have taken their lumps recently, but there were signs of a rebound during the recently adjourned General Assembly session.

Labor did not get nearly everything it wanted; building  trades union  leaders are unhappy that lawmakers did not approve requiring construction firms bidding on state projects worth $1 million or more to have a union apprenticeship program.

The attorney for the former head of an agency that allegedly had disabled people working for less than minimum wage maintains his client did nothing wrong.

John Cicilline says he has received paperwork from the U.S. Justice Department relating to John Capobianco, Sr. and his nonprofit company Training Through Placement, but he said yesterday he had not yet had time to review it.

The Rhode Island Senate has approved legislation that hikes the state’s minimum wage to $8 an hour.

When Rhode Island’s minimum wage jumped from to $7.40 to $7.75 on January 1st, it was the first raise the state had given minimum wage workers in five years. Now lawmakers are looking at bumping it up again to $8 an hour.

That would match Massachusetts’ minimum wage but come under Vermont’s at $8.60 an hour.

Sen. Reed bill will Hike Minimum Wage

Mar 6, 2013

Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed is supporting a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage over the next three years.

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25.  The so-called “Federal Wage Act” would increase that wage by 95 cents annually until it reaches $10.10 by 2015.

However the buying power of minimum wage has decreased significantly, and the new boost may not be enough in Rhode Island, says Kate Brewster, the executive director of The Economic Progress Institute.

RI State Capitol
RIPR file

Legislative committees are set Tuesday to begin reviewing Governor Lincoln Chafee’s proposed budget for the fiscal year starting in July. This is one of many meetings where lawmakers will hash over the budget.