Business groups gear up for fight over minimum wage bill

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The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and New Castle County Chamber are gearing up for a battle over legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $11 in Januauryand $15 by 2024.

The two chambers joined the DelawareRestaurant Association,the Delaware Hotel and Lodging Association and the National Federation of Independent Business in opposing the measure.

The legislation is now before the Senate Labor Committee.

“We have witnessed a willingness to suspend rules to pass controversial bills—this was how the minimum wage hike was passed in the early hours of the morning on July 1st.In order to stop this, we need you to take action ASAP. If this is something vital to your business, like our survey responses have dictated, we need you to reach out to senators. If not, this bill will become very challenging, if not impossible, to stop.With an increase in activism from the progressive wing of the Democratic party, this emphasizes the importance of primaries and general elections going forward, especially as it relates to the business community,” the Chamber wrote in a message to members.

“This is not a philosophical discussion, debating about starting wages vs livable wages. This is the about emphasizing theimpact increasing these wages will have on your business.If you will be forced to close—tell them. If you’ll have to reduce your employee count—tell them,” the message stated.

If the bill passes the Senate, it will very likely be brought to the floor of the House for consideration. If it gets to the Governor’s desk, I expect him to sign it. This will be a fight every step of the way, and your voices are needed to impact the outcome of the legislation.

The chambers urged affected business owners to attend the Senate Labor Committee on Wednesday, June 12 at 12:30 in the Senate Chamber to testify against the legislation.

The legislation comes as base wages have been moving upward due to a worsening labor shortage in the state.

Many of the state’s leading banks have publicly announced minimum wages of $15 and as high as $20 an hour.

Restaurants have claimed the higher wages could lead to the loss of jobs in a key industry. The restaurant industry is known for hiring people with starter jobs, including individuals coming out of the corrections system.

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