COMP NEWS – The Midterm elections put compensation measures on many ballots across several key states. How did they fare? For the most part, states voted to raise the minimum wage.

When wage increases are on the ballot, voters usually say yes. That was the case in multiple states with one notable loss in Portland, Maine. Meanwhile, Illinois cemented collective bargaining rights into its constitution, and Tennessee will bake right-to-work law into its own.

Nebraska passed a ballot initiative to raise its minimum wage, while a similar initiative in Nevada is still being tallied.

Nebraska: Initiative Measure 433

Ballot result: Passed.

Details: A minimum wage hike that will increase incrementally from $9 per hour to $15 per hour by Jan. 1, 2026.

Nevada: Question No. 2

Ballot result: Pending.

Details: A minimum wage hike to $12 per hour by July 1, 2024. This increase applies to all workers regardless of whether their employers offer health insurance.

In Maine, a ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage for workers (including tipped workers) failed to pass.

Portland, Maine: Question D

Ballot result: Failed.

Details: The Act to Eliminate the Sub-Minimum Wage, Increase Minimum Wages and Strengthen Protections for Workers would have increased the minimum wage from $13 per hour to $18 per hour over the next three years.

The proposed $18-an-hour minimum would have also applied to tipped service workers, nearly tripling their current minimum wage of $6.50 per hour. With that hike, Portland would have enacted the highest minimum wage for tipped workers nationwide. This act would have also created a Portland Department of Fair Labor Practices to enforce compliance with the increase.

The minimum wage in Portland is still set to increase to $15 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2024, but that increase doesn’t include tipped workers.

Elsewhere, in Illinois and Tennessee, both state constitutions were amended regarding right-to-work laws.

Illinois: Amendment 1

Ballot result: Passed.

Details: The “workers’ rights” amendment will amend the Illinois state constitution to ensure the right for workers to organize and bargain collectively to negotiate wages, hours and working conditions. It also prohibits the state from passing right-to-work laws, which allow employees to opt out of joining a union or paying union dues even if the workplace has unionized.

Tennessee: Amendment 1

Ballot result: Passed.

Details: The Right-to-Work Amendment will add the right-to-work law into Tennessee’s state constitution. Right-to-work laws allow employees to opt out of union membership or requirements to pay union dues at their workplace. These laws are typically lauded by pro-business groups and opposed by labor unions. Tennessee has had a right-to-work law in place since 1947, but this amendment will bake it into the constitution — a move that eight other states have made.

To read more about compensation measures on the ballot, click here.

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