Typo stalls minimum wage increase proposal; activists sue
Posted at: 09/06/2012 6:33 PM
| Updated at: 09/07/2012 9:09 AM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4; Whitney Jones KOB.com
A typo is at the center of a minimum wage initiative controversy that led to the Albuquerque City Council removing the item from its agenda for consideration during its Wednesday evening meeting - a move that may jeopardize the question going to the voters on the November 6 ballot.
The measure would increase the minimum wage by a dollar from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour.
The proposed increase would also apply to employees who make tips - the group who would be most effected by the typo.
"Starting in 2013, employers of tipped employees like waitresses and waiters be paid at least 45 percent of the minimum wage in cash wages from their employers," the proposal reads.
The writers of the proposal accidentally switched the words 'employee' with 'employer,' essentially changing the proposals meaning.
So, city councilors decided not to address the measure during the meeting.
And now, one of the groups behind the initiative, 'OLE,' or Organizers in the Land of Enchantment, are threatening to sue the city over the council's decision and have requested the District Court issue a temporary restraining order.
The group argues the city's election code allows for typo corrections in order for the initiative's wording to conform with the "manifest intention" of the proposal.
The city clerk certified the petition, which approximately 25,000 signed, on August 23 initiating a 14-day period during which the council could act on the measure.
September 11 is the final day for council action.
'OLE' President Mary Lee Ortega said if city leaders are smart, they'll put the proposal on the November ballot.
The coalition behind the minimum wage measure also includes AFSCME, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, and Working America