Minimum wage debate set to hit senate floor

By: Bill Schammert

The minimum wage debate is ready to take center state at the State Capitol. Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist wants to increase the wage from $7.25 to $9.00.

Sen. Nordquist's three year plan would increase the minimum wage by $1.75 by 2017.

On Tuesday, supporters held a round table discussion at The Center For People In Need.

“They're working full-time and they still can't pay for rent, utilities and other basic needs,” Director Beatty Brasch said.

Brasch says if the wage kept up with inflation, minimum earners would make $10.25 per hour.

Tyra Andera, 23, has plans to go to college, but is already struggling to make ends meet at her job at Burger King.

“At the moment, I'm working 62 hours every two weeks, and still only making $400,” she said. “That's a lot of hours and I'm still not making anything.”

Andera lost her job at Kawasaki in January because she got sick. Now she lives paycheck to paycheck, unsure if she'll be able to pay rent, or other basic needs. She hopes to eventually to regain her manufacturing job.

“It's a hit or miss thing, it's a big city,” she said. “There's more and more people looking for jobs.”

Even thought Lincoln has low unemployment, Brasch says she sees more and more people coming to The Center For People In Need in search of help.

The Unicameral is scheduled to take up the LB-943 on Wednesday morning.