Vice-speaker says industry can handle wage increase - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Vice-speaker says industry can handle wage increase

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - After three public hearings, Vice Speaker BJ Cruz says he still intends to move forward with legislation to raise the minimum wage. Bill 316 proposes to raise the minimum wage by $0.95 over the next three years topped off at $10.10. Today, he spoke before the Rotary Club of Guam on the need for the increase especially after recent data was released in the Department of Labor's Current Employment Report that showed wages have gone up. For example he says in the hotel industry, the average wages have gone up $0.28 whereas the average room rate between 2009 and today has gone up from $88 to $140.

He said, "It just shows that there is enough money being made in the industry to be able to absorb these costs without any layoffs and it would just mean just a little off their bottom line but nothing that would kill them. It really is unconscionable that we as a community can leave those at the bottom of the wage latter groveling in poverty when we can and have the means to be able to help them come out of poverty with dignity by giving them an assemblence of a decent wage, it's not a living wage but a decent wage."

Cruz says the committee report for Bill 316 is still not completed but intends to have it heard on session floor by the end of June. As we reported, among those who were in opposition of the bill were the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association and the Guam Visitors Bureau.
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