DPO PRESS RELEASE
Chris Dudley Announces First Priority: Lower Minimum Wage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chris Dudley has amped up his rhetoric and efforts to reduce Oregon’s minimum wage. Dudley, proclaiming the issue at the top of his post-inaugural agenda would be to reducing the minimum wage, saying: “one area I would like to tackle first is to at least get a training wage.”
Not surprisingly, just yesterday Dudley served as the keynote speaker at the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association convention in Bend. ORLA specifically states that they are “opposed to any increases in the minimum wage that do not take into consideration the effects on entry level or tipped employees.”
“Chris Dudley’s idea for economic recovery is $800 Million in tax breaks to the wealthy, while cutting wages for those Oregonians making the minimum,” said Meredith Wood Smith, Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon. “We need a governor who will fight for everyone trying to make ends meet during this recession. Dudley’s latest attack on working families shows that Oregonians just cannot afford Chris Dudley.”
Thanks to a 2002 measure passed by Oregon voters, today the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries announced a 10-cent increase to the states minimum wage in an effort to cushion the impact of increased taxes on Oregon’s working families and working poor.
Transcript of exchange here:
[Questioner]: Alright, thanks again Chris for coming. Um, my question comes back to labor and labor costs. Um, I’ve noticed that our state tends to have a very high minimum wage and uh I think that’s difficult for our businesses but I think it uh, it also attracts uh people from other states to come to our state and take our jobs away from our kids and uh and those that might need them. I think it attracts the wrong end of the labor pool to our state uh and they tend to stay here and uh – uh I uh I – I’m concerned about that, I’m interested to know what your – if you share that philosophy and if you have any idea what – what you would do about that or if you want to address that issue.
[Dudley]: Well it’s not a – it’s a – I agree with you on – on – on that issue. Um it’s one that is very difficult to ex – it takes time to explain so that people understand why you’re talking with – with having the highest minimum wage in the country uh negatively impacts the state, um it’s something that I, from an economic standpoint, I understand and you talk to restaurants, restaurants will say listen, we’ve got less employees than we would otherwise because of this and it doesn’t make sense that our – our waitresses are getting tips plus the highest minimum wage in the country where our – those in the back – there’s a dispri-disproportionate amount of compensation, there’s so many negative issues with it that I think need to be addressed. Um so it’s something I’m – I’m not going to make a forefront campaign issue on it because I think it’s something – it’s a hot button that people don’t really understand, um but at some point I’m – I’m well aware of the issue and I’m also concerned about with – with – I’m very concerned in our state that we have unemployment rate uh between ages 18 and I think it’s 22 it might be 24 of 35 percent in our state. And in minority population it’s above 50 and what I get concerned about is if you don’t learn how to work it gets harder and harder to get in the workforce and so I think it’s very conc- that – that’s one area I would like to tackle first is to at least get a training wage going um to get people so that they at least have the opportunity to work and I think – think we’re really hurting our future by – by not doing so. [Dudley Campaign Event, 9/9/10]
Contact: Amy Wojcicki, Communications Director amy [at] dpo [dot] org (503) 239-8636