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Local group working to get $15 minimum wage hike on November ballot

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TUCSON (KVOA) - A local group called Tucson Fight for 15 is collecting signatures to raise the minimum wage to $15 in the city of Tucson.

But would that actually help or hurt low-income earners and small businesses?

Opinions are split on whether raising the wage is actually a good or bad thing for the local economy. However, that has not stopped a group from collecting over 19,000 signatures in support of raising the minimum wage.

Tucson Fight for 15 has relied on local business support and volunteers to help gather signatures to get this proposal on the November ballot.

Along with their 19,000 signatures, the group says Rep. Raul Grijalva and Pima County supervisors Matt Heinz, Adelita Grijalva and Rex Scott, among others, have supported the initiative.

"Some of the people that have endorsed us have been talking about needing to raise the minimum wage for years so this was sort of a no-brainer," CJ Boyd said.

Collected signatures are dropped off daily to Boyd. In addition, supporting businesses, such as Gloo Factory, are also collecting signatures.

At Gloo Factory, each employee already makes at least $15 an hour.

Cenorina Remariez, who works customer service at the South Tucson business, says anything less is hard to survive on, "especially for people who don't have access to higher education. It's really hard to work and maintain a livelihood at anything less than $15."

The proposal would gradually raise the wage to $15 by 2025, with the first raise coming in April of next year.

The other side of raising wages is how will that trickle down to costs of other consumers and businesses who now have to compensate for an increased payroll?

"We feel that the minimum wage is going to continue to create an increase in prices of just about every good and service out there," Grant Kreuger of Union Public House said.

While some believe a $15 minimum wage makes it easier to survive, others worry that it may hurt everyone in the long term.

"People should not be struggling and having multiple jobs to have what they need at the table," Remariez said.

"We believe that fundamentally, a concept of a rising minimum wage creates substantially, more inflation and actually hurts large numbers of our community," Kreuger said.

As of now, the group has collected more than 19,000 signatures. Their goal is to have 30,000, which they have until July 1 to gather.

For more information about the group, visit tucsonfightfor15.com.

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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