Raise the Wage Nebraska Submits more than 150,000 Signatures

(Lincoln, NE) -- A statewide coalition petitioning to amend Nebraska’s minimum wage law gather 150,000 signatures to get their initiative on the November ballot.

On Thursday, Raise the Wage Nebraska submitted more than 150,000 signatures to the Nebraska Secretary of State to place a gradual increase in the state’s minimum wage on the November ballot. RTWN says their ballot initiative will gradually increase the current $9 per hour minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026 and will be adjusted annually thereafter to account for increases in the cost of living.

The coalition says increasing the minimum wage will benefit nearly 150,000 working Nebraskans - 75% of all workers who will benefit are over 20 years old and nearly one-quarter are over 40. Additionally, 60,000 are working full-time.

Nancy Williams, President and CEO of No More Empty Pots and sponsor of the initiative petition said, “This initiative will improve the lives of tens of thousands of Nebraska families. 1 in 5 workers who will benefit is a parent supporting children and trying to make ends meet. The cost of groceries, housing and basics have gone up for years, and inflation is now at record highs, but the minimum wage just hasn’t kept up. No one working full-time should struggle to make ends meet.”

The first increase in January 2023 would go from $9.00 to $10.50 per hour. It then goes up a little each year until it reaches $15.00 per hour in 2026. RTWN says this phased-in approach lets businesses adjust while ensuring nearly 195,000 Nebraska residents can feed their families.

“I’m a mom of two elementary-aged kids and a wife who has been part of the workforce for 19 years. I have worked in education, the service industry, retail, childcare, and human services – all earning minimum wage or barely above. I loved the work and the people, but my labor wasn’t as valued as much as it should be, and it made it nearly impossible to make ends meet,” said Cindy Meyer. “If everyone was earning at least $15.00 per hour, we would be able to take better care of ourselves, better care of our families, and contribute more to our communities.”

According to research from the Economic Policy Institute, 1 in 5 women workers in Nebraska will see their wages increase because of the initiative and 43% of Nebraska workers who will benefit have at least some college or an Associate's degree. RTWN says if the initiative passes, 25% of Black workers and 30% of Latino workers in Nebraska will see their wages go up.

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