Typo could change fate of minimum wage proposal
Posted at: 09/05/2012 4:58 PM
| Updated at: 09/06/2012 8:00 AM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
A minimum wage increase may not be voted on in November because of a typo. After a community coalition in Albuquerque went around getting over 12,000 signatures, it may all be for nothing.
The proposal is for the minimum wage to increase from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour. There's also a request that tipped employees make 45-percent of the minimum wage next year and 60-percent of the minimum wage in 2014.
But the wording for the tipped employees goes like this.
"Employers of tipped employees like waitresses and waiters be paid at least 45 percent of the minimum wage in cash wages from their employers..."
It reads like employers are paying themselves. Over 12,000 people signed the petition written as it's stated in the proposal to the city council. And Ken Sanchez, a co-sponsor of the petition, said pushing this petition through could have legal implications.
"If it goes on the ballot and passes, then the people, the restaurant owners, are probably going to file a lawsuit against the city, based on the language that was put on the ballot," Councilor Sanchez said.
The councilor said their city council cannot make the change tonight, either. "We can't go back and amend the language that was signed by the individuals that put this petition together."
Councilor Sanchez expects the co-sponsor of the proposal, Councilor Isaac Benton, will not push it forward. He said there are too many legal implications involved.
Sanchez expects a district court judge will decide what to do. That could be to change the wording of the proposal and put in the special election for November. The judge could also decide that the community coalition would have to fix the wording of the petition and get another 12,000 signatures.
City Council President Trudy Jones said there could be another option, at least according to one attorney who is advising her. She said the original, incorrect proposal could be on the voting ballot in November.
"But it would also have to have on that same ballot the corrected resolution, which then makes a long, long, long piece of reading to do," she said.
Councilor Jones said they will know more Wednesday night, but with one sponsor of the proposal already uncomfortable with pushing it through, the chances of the minimum wage increase proposal making it for the November ballot are slim.