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Minimum Wage Law Could Impact Charleston OT Costs

Reported: Apr. 2, 2014 5:44 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 2, 2014 6:08 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kennie Bass) -- Charleston Mayor Danny jones says if House Bill 4283, which raises the state's minimum wage over the next two years, isn't re-written, the city will have to drastically change the way firefighters work and are paid.

"They put language into the bill which would have made everybody, including them (firefighters) into and eight hour day and a 40 hour week," Jones said. "Well, that would cost us between six and $700,000 a year and we can't afford it. So, we would have had to change the way firefighters are paid."

Jones said the provision in the law which changes the workday and week would cost the city more than just money. Fire protection would also take a hit.

"And it would have probably meant the full-time closure of a fire station or two, or at least half-time closure of a fire station or two," Jones said. "In other words, some fire stations might be on 12-hour shifts, some might be closed altogether. Because, I mean, we don' t have the money."

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Senate President Jeff Kessler and House Speaker Tim Miley said they'll work to fix the minimum wage bill's unintended consequences before it goes into effect.

"It's very important that we put those exceptions back into the bill to keep from really upsetting our whole, you know, many professions out there," Tomblin said.

Tomblin said when the minimum wage change takes effect, it will raise the salary of more than 100,000 West Virginians.

Tomblin said that special session will take place during the legislature's interim meetings next month. Those are scheduled to start May 19.



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