Portland 'living wage' petitions headed to City Hall

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PORTLAND — A petition to create a $15-per-hour “living wage” in the city has attracted more than 2,500 signatures and will be turned in at the city clerk’s office Friday, June 19, according to Tom MacMillan, head of the city branch of the Maine Independent Green Party.

If City Clerk Katherine Jones certifies 1,500  signatures, the citizen initiative will face a City Council public hearing before it is placed on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The living wage would require employers with 500 or more employees to pay the wage by Jan. 1, 2017, and go into full effect by Jan. 1, 2019.

The City Council is expected to vote July 6 on an ordinance to create a citywide minimum wage of $8.75 per hour by Jan. 1, 2016, with increases of 50 cents per hour in 2018 and 2020.