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Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Public Workers Union To Bankroll Efforts To Raise Oregon's Minimum Wage

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OREGON BUREAU OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIES
Oregon's minimum wage is $9.25 per hour.

The effort to raise Oregon's minimum wage is getting a financial boost from the largest state workers union. SEIU local 503 has formed a political action committee to push for a hike in the state's base pay.

The union said its new PAC isn't picking favorites among three potential initiative petitions that would raise Oregon's minimum wage to as much as $15 per hour. It said its money could go to any of those efforts.

And it's a lot of money: The new PAC already has more than $340,000 of union money to disperse.

Some lawmakers said they'll take up the minimum wage issue when the legislature convenes in February for a five week session. It's not clear, though, whether there's enough support in Salem to raise the wage as high as the groups involved in the initiative campaigns want.

If legislative action does head off an initiative battle, the SEIU said its PAC will fund the campaigns of candidates who champion a higher minimum wage.