SHERWOOD, AR - Supporters of raising the minimum wage expect to learn this week if a ballot measure will make it to voters in November.
They say Labor Day is a perfect time to highlight the issues faced by low-wage earners, gathering at an AFL-CIO event in Sherwood to discuss the plight of Arkansas' lower-paid employees.
"If we raise the minimum wage, it's good for people," David Couch, an attorney supporting a minimum wage hike. "If you work 40 hours a week, you should be able to put a roof over your head and food on your table."
Give Arkansas a Raise Now delivered almost 70,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's Office.
For Couch and fellow advocates, it's "not a partisan issue." Couch is a part of a multi-group grassroots effort to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.50 in 3 years.
The state's minimum wage is lower than the federal wage, which supersedes the state wage.
While other states have higher wages, Couch acknowledges that raising it to the par of cities like Seattle, with a proposed increase to $15 an hour, would not be likely in Arkansas.
"Given the economy in Arkansas, the $15 minimum wage is probably not realistic," Couch said. "Because in this state, then it would really harm small businesses."
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