Minimum wage hike: Local workers look forward to raises

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Lattarsha Smith used to work fries. Now she works the drive-thru.

The recent Southside High School graduate said she plans to go to college, but she’s trying to save some money first. She’s hoping her new raise helps.

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Her job at Wendy’s just meant more to her and her 30 co-workers who will be seeing a pay increase when their checks come out next week. On Tuesday the federal minimum wage increase went into effect and she’s getting a raise.

“I’m glad I got a raise. More money always helps,” said Smith, juggling the Thursday afternoon shift change duties. “I’m planning to go to Capps College, but I don’t know when. I need to save some more money.”

Smith, like most students and workers who had been working for $5.40 an hour, will be getting a raise on next week’s check to $5.85 an hour. Wesley Griffin, Wendy’s shift manager, said that not all of their 31 employees would be getting pay increases because the minimum wage went up.

“The way I understand it, only the employees making under $5.85 an hour will be getting a raise. If you’re making over that you won’t be.”

An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act calls for another increase July 24, 2008 to $6.55 an hour, and to $7.25 an hour by July 24, 2009.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the state of Alabama is one of five states that do not have a minimum wage requirement. However, employers in Alabama along with South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, must obey the federal minimum wage requirements.

Several states, including Georgia, have minimum wage rates lower than the federal rate. Some, including Florida, have state requirements that are higher than that of the federal requirements, according to the Department of Labor.

In California the state minimum wage requirement is $8 an hour. In Arkansas the state minimum wage is $6.25 an hour, according to the Department of Labor.