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Updated: Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012, 6:51 PM MST
Published : Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012, 6:51 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Efforts continue to fight Albuquerque’s oncoming minimum wage hike approved by voters in the November election.
One group is asking city councilors to instead consider phasing-in the wage hike, but time is running out.
The dollar-an-hour increase to $8.50 takes effect in less than a month.
The fate of the minimum wage hike lies largely with the Albuquerque city council even though voters overwhelmingly passed it back in November.
“We do have legal opinion that the council does have the right to totally nullify this legislation or to amend it,” Albuquerque City Councilor, Trudy Jones, said.
But so far, no one is sponsoring anything.
Good news for those with the group OLE which fought hard for voter support.
“Voters passed a dollar increase. The voters knew what they were voting for,” Andrea Serrano said.
OLE member Andrea Serrano says a push by the New Mexico Restaurant Association to get councilors to amend the ordinance by phasing in the increase is wrong.
The association says the dollar-an-hour increase won't fit well for many business owners whose budget planning didn't account for pay increases.
According to the association it's worse for restaurants.
Base pay for tipped food service workers would increase from just over $2-an-hour to more than $5 according to the association.
For the average restaurant, it means a payroll increase of about $80,000 a year for servers and non-servers.
Jones opposed the increase but says the association's idea of phasing in the city-wide pay increase might have come too late.
“I believe that phasing in is a difficult proposition to do, especially considering that the wage starts in January,” Jones said.
Supporters of the wage hike say the council shouldn't do anything.
“This was a 66-percent majority that voted this in and it wouldn't be wise to go against the will of the voters,” Serrano said.
The CEO of the restaurant association says they have been in talks with some city councilors, but wouldn't say who.
At this point no city councilor is sponsoring anything regarding the wage hike.
A spokesperson for the mayor's office says the mayor will respect the will of the voters, but will still consider whatever the council sends his way regarding the pay hike.