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Lane County Board Approves $15 Minimum Wage

Rachael McDonald/ screenshot

Last week, (8/4/21) Lane County Commissioners approved a $15-dollar an hour minimum wage for county employees. The vote was 4 to 1.

Some commissioners acknowledge $15 an hour is not necessarily a living wage, given the rising cost of housing in Lane County.

“It’s symbolic more than anything,” Said Board Chair Joe Berny . He added the policy is a statement of the county’s values. It mainly applies to temporary employees including election and fair workers. A county spokesperson says their regular status employees are already at or above that rate or being addressed through collective bargaining. Berney says the cost to implement the $15 per hour wage is minimal.

“The overall impact to the actual Lane County budget of doing that, of not allowing any county employee work for less than that, is all of $25,000,” Berney said.

The county budget is more than $800 million. 1,700 people work for Lane County. Commissioner Jay Bozievich was the one nay vote.

Copyright 2021 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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