NC House Approves Bill to Increase Minimum Wage

MAY 26, 2006 -- The North Carolina House has approved a proposed $1.00 per hour increase in the state's minimum wage. A final vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

Currently, minimum wage in North Carolina is $5.15, so if the bill passes, it would go up to $6.15. However, many Wilmington employees say that's not enough.

Amber Shellenberger has been a waitress at Andy's for the past eight months. She says cooks there make $5.15 an hour, and a dollar increase isn't enough, but she says it's a start.

Some House representatives suggested making the minimum wage increase apply to employees 21 and older. They voted against that amendment Thursday, but a local representative says other House members could try to bring up a version of that amendment next week.

Shellenberger says that's outrageous.

"We work hard at what we do you know. We need money now a days. Everything went up, gas, everything. $5.15 an hour is not good when you bring home only a $100 pay check," said Shellenberger.

Representative Thomas Wright says he's pushing for the bill to be passed. Representative Danny McComas says he's opposed to the bill. Both men say they will have a final vote on that bill on Tuesday. Then it will go to the state Senate for approval. If the Senate passes the bill, it could go into effect as early as next fall.

Reported by Kacey Gaumer