KARK/Fox 16 reports an announcement from Arkansas Children’s Hospital that it is increasing its minimum wage from $10.10 to $14 an hour effective Jan. 1.
A statement reported by KARK’s Hilary Hunt says the board of the hospital has “prioritized” seeing that all employees earn a “living wage.”
“We believe this investment will result in team members who are better equipped to help us care for sick and hurt children,” said Arkansas Children’s President & CEO Marcy Doderer. “In order to take care of our most vulnerable populations, our board of directors saw it as fundamental to take care of our team by offering this living wage. We want our employees to feel like their pay check can take care of them and their families.”
• The move will also help Arkansas Children’s remain an employer of choice, as many retailers and corporations begin moving their minimum wage. Currently, the health system has committed to $14 an hour.
• With hospitals in Little Rock and Springdale, clinics in Jonesboro and South West Little Rock, mobile dental services throughout the state, a research institute, private foundation and statewide outreach programs, Arkansas Children’s employs about 4,300 people.
I’m trying to find out how many are in the minimum wage category.
The move is good timing for the campaign for an amendment on this year’s ballot raise the wage from $8.50 to only $11, but not before 2021.
Vox chronicled the campaigns in Arkansas and Missouri to raise the minimum wage today, efforts that could put a million people including 300,000 in Arkansas, closer to a living wage.
Republicans control the state legislature and governor’s mansion, and they overwhelmingly oppose the ballot measure. The state’s chamber of commerce tried to knock the measure off the ballot, with the predictable, misleading claim that it would kill jobs. Issue 5 survived a court challenge.
Yet the idea of raising wages is quite popular among voters. A September poll showed about 60 percent support the measure — twice as many as those who oppose it.
Full-time workers in Arkansas who are paid the current minimum wage earn about $17,680 a year, according to a new study by the National Employment Law Project, which supports Issue 5. The study estimates that increase would boost incomes for about 300,000 people in the state — about one in four workers. ….
The average worker in Arkansas needs to earn $13.84 an hour to afford a two-bedroom home, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
And they’ll be well behind workers at Children’s.