Hardworking Oregonians Deserve a Raise

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Hardworking Oregonians Deserve a Raise

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The movement to raise the minimum wage arrived with full force in Salem this week, as hundreds of Oregonians traveled to the Capitol for committee hearings on Monday and for a rally on Wednesday.

Those Oregonians, representing the many thousands of families who continue to struggle to make ends meet, made their message clear: 

Hardworking Oregonians deserve a raise. 

I wholeheartedly agree. Right now, hundreds of thousands of Oregonians are working hard, playing by the rules, and yet they still struggle to get ahead.

On Monday night, I testified in favor of increasing our minimum wage because I believe it is an investment that will expand opportunity, reward hard work, and support healthy families.

You can watch my testimony below, and read on for a few facts about minimum wage workers that may surprise you.

Speaker Kotek testifying on raising the minimum wage
Speaker Kotek testifying in support of bills to raise the minimum wage. April 13, 2015

10 Facts about Minimum Wage Work

Contrary to the common misconception that minimum wage workers tend to be teenagers who can easily move on to higher-paying jobs, data shows that low-wage earners are older than they used to be, many have kids, most are women, and people of color are over-represented. Here are 10 facts to keep in mind about minimum wage workers as we continue the conversation about raising Oregon's minimum wage.

  • Nearly 150,000 Oregon workers make minimum wage and take home just $18,925 per year. [1]
  • Studies show that if the minimum wage had tracked the rate of income growth for the richest few, the federal minimum wage would have spiked to more than $22 in 2013. [2]
  • The average age of a minimum wage worker is 35 years old. [3]
  • Four in ten minimum wage workers are the sole bread winner of their family. [4]
  • Approximately two-thirds of minimum wage earners are women. [5]
  • Twenty-two percent of minimum wage workers are women of color. [6]
  • Latinos represent only 15 percent of the workforce, yet comprise 25 percent of those that would benefit from a higher minimum wage. [7]
  • About one-quarter of minimum wage workers are parents, compared with 34 percent of all workers. [8]
  • 55 percent of minimum wage earners work full-time (35 hours per week or more). [9]
  • 44 percent of minimum wage workers have at least some college experience. [10]

It's time to raise the minimum wage to a level that ensures all Oregonians are getting a fair deal for their efforts. This conversation is far from over -- if you want to weigh in or share your story, please email my office at Rep.TinaKotek@state.or.us.

As always, it is a pleasure to represent you.



Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: Rep. Rep.TinaKotek@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/kotek