Coalition steps up effort to boost Nebraska minimum wage

November 11, 2021 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A coalition that includes labor unions and civil rights groups has launched a website and social media pages in its drive to get a measure to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage to $15 an hour on the ballot next year.

Raise the Wage Nebraska says it wants to highlight the stories of the 195,000 Nebraska residents who’d see higher pay, the Lincoln Journal Star reports. The coalition needs to collect 87,000 signatures on petitions by July 2022 to get its proposal on the ballot in November 2022.

The measure would increase the minimum wage by $1.50 annually until it reached $15 in 2026. After that, there’d be an annual cost-of-living increase in the wage in Nebraska would receive an annual cost of living increase.

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Nebraska voters widely supported raising the minimum wage in 2014. Nearly 60% backed an initiative that increased it from $7.25 an hour to its current $9 an hour.

Business groups oppose the measure, saying it could hurt small-business owners who already are having difficulty filling jobs as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts also is opposed.

But supporters said raising the wage will help people living in poverty and working multiple jobs to make ends meet.