The Guam Legislature passed a bill over the weekend that would effectively raise the U.S. territory’s $8.25 minimum wage by a dollar.
Guam Sen. Joe San Agustin’s (D-GU) Bill 136-35, which seeks to impose a $9.25 minimum wage for Guam starting March 1, 2021, now heads to Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero for enactment.
The bill would boost Guam’s minimum wage of $8.25 in annual increments of 50 cents starting March 1, 2020, and ending on March 1, 2021, when it reaches $9.25.
The Guam legislature passed the bill on Oct. 4, 2019.
“I wish to offer my appreciation to my colleagues who believed in giving our people who make minimum wage the opportunity to bridge the gap in feeding and caring for their families,” San Agustin noted in a statement.
“Many hours of work and discussion on the bill allowed us to evaluate the pros and cons and, at the end of the day, our goal in ensuring our people are taken care of is accomplished,” he added.
“Guam’s workers need a raise and I am proud that the [Guam Legislature’s] Committee on Labor could prepare this bill for the floor,” said Guam Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee (D-GU) in a Sept. 3, 2019, statement, announcing the bill’s departure from the Guam Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs, Telecommunications, Technology, and Labor, which she chairs.
“Every Democrat senator [in Guam] stood with Sen. San Agustin and co-sponsored this bill, but I know that we must do more to help working people get ahead,” she added.
Besides Lee, Guam Sens. Jose “Pedo” Terlaje (D-GU), Clynton E. Ridgell (D-GU), Kelly Marsh (D-GU), Telena C. Nelson (D-GU), Sabina F. Perez (D-GU), Therese M. Terlaje (D-GU), Amanda M. Shelton (D-GU), and Guam Senate Speaker Tina Rose M. Barnes (D-GU) sponsored the legislation.
Leon Guerrero has already expressed support for raising Guam’s minimum wage in her monthly address last September
“We need to help our people with policies based on democratic principles that support working people like raising the minimum wage. Let’s give the 11,000 people in Guam who would benefit from a minimum wage increase a raise,” she said in her address.
“A Guam-based study measuring the impacts of the last minimum wage increase found that our GDP went up, that the rate of inflation in the price of goods stayed generally flat, that work hours weren’t lost, and that most people stayed on the job,” she added. “A large portion of the island’s working class comes from the hospitality industry, particularly in food and beverage, and, as minimum wage earners, they can barely afford to pay their bills.”