PORTLAND, Ore.–

The minimum wage in Multnomah County will gradually rise and reach $15 by July of 2016.

The county Board of Commissioners voted on December 4 to gradually increase the pay for the lowest-paid labor force in the country, such as on-call and temporary employees.

Multnomah County employees receiving minimum will earn $13 per hour this year, $14 in the 2016 fiscal year and then $15.

“To have staff working alongside staff but making less money just because they’re temporary or on-call, it doesn’t seem fair,” County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury said, after Thursday’s meeting. “Multnomah County’s values are about paying people fair and living wages for the work they do.”

The county currently has over 5,000 employees and the Oregonian reports about 150 earn the county’s minimum wage of $11.99 an hour.

Kafoury said Multnomah is the first county and largest public Oregon employer to raise the wage to $15 per hour.

Commissioners voted 4-0 in support of the agreement — one was absent.

“Our frontline workers are the ones that make the county function,” said Commissioner Jules Bailey. “I am so glad that we were able to come together and find an agreement that works.”

 

Angel is a Journalism student, finishing her last undergrad year at Corban University. She digs listening to The Black Keys, reading old smelly books, drinking cappuccinos, collecting quotes, and writing about grace. She would love to start her own print/online publication that would document people's stories and experiences.