State minimum wage rises to highest in nation

January 3, 2012

Washington’s minimum wage increased Jan. 1 to $9.04 per hour — the highest state minimum wage in the nation.

The state Department of Labor & Industries calculates the state minimum wage each year.

The recalculation is required under Initiative 688, a measure passed by Washington voters 13 years ago.

The increase reflects a 4.258 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers since August 2010.

The calculation is a measure of the average change in prices over time of goods and services — such as food, clothing and fuel, and services, such as doctor visits — purchased by urban wage earners and clerical workers.

The minimum wage applies to workers in agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-old workers may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.68 per hour, starting in 2012.

Washington’s minimum wage to rise to highest in nation

November 1, 2011

Washington’s minimum wage is due to increase Jan. 1 to $9.04 per hour — the highest state minimum wage in the nation.

The state Department of Labor & Industries announced the 37-cent per hour increase Sept. 30. The agency calculates the state minimum wage each year.

The recalculation is required under Initiative 688, a measure passed by Washington voters 13 years ago.

The increase reflects a 4.258 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers since August 2010.

The calculation is a measure of the average change in prices over time of goods and services — such as food, clothing and fuel, and services, such as doctor visits — purchased by urban wage earners and clerical workers.

The minimum wage applies to workers in agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-old workers may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.68 per hour, starting next year.

Washington and nine other states adjust minimum wages based on inflation and the CPI. Washington has the highest minimum wage nationwide, followed by Oregon.

Man dies after utility accident on Tiger Mountain

August 9, 2011

A utility company worker died after a predawn accident Aug. 5 in the Mirrormont neighborhood.

The lineman, a 40-year-old Buckley man, James B. Waters, sustained critical injuries after a coworker in a work truck ran over him in the early morning hours.

The crew for Sumner-based Potelco had been working on a downed pole in the Tiger Mountain neighborhood.

Investigators said Waters had been at work on the downed pole. Then, as he removed a wire that was under tension, the taut wire snapped back and knocked him backward and under the rear tires of the truck. The truck happened to be driving past at a slow speed, and he was caught under the right rear tires and run over.

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Utility worker dies after accident on Tiger Mountain

August 5, 2011

NEW — 6:30 p.m. Aug. 5, 2011

The utility company worker injured in a Friday morning accident in the Mirrormont neighborhood has died.

The lineman, a 40-year-old Buckley man, sustained critical injuries after a coworker in a work truck ran over him in the early morning hours.

The crew for Sumner-based Potelco had had been working on a downed pole in the Tiger Mountain neighborhood.

Investigators said the Buckley man had been at work on the downed pole. Then, as he removed a wire that was under tension, the taut wire snapped back and knocked him backwards and under the rear tires the truck. The truck happened to be driving past a slow speed, and he was caught under the right rear tires and run over.

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Homeowners should check contractors’ registration

April 19, 2011

The state Department of Labor & Industries is reminding homeowners to watch out for unregistered contractors as spring and summer remodeling projects start.

“When it comes to hiring contractors, the lowest bid can come at the highest price,” Carl Hammersburg, fraud prevention and compliance program manager, said in a release. “Fortunately, L&I offers a number of ways for homeowners to protect themselves.”

The agency advised homeowners to use www.hiringacontractor.lni.wa.gov to see if a contractor is registered, bonded and insured. They also can check any citations or unpaid judgments against a contractor.

Consumers can also check contractors’ status by calling 1-800-647-0982 toll free.

Unregistered contractors underbid the competition by misclassifying workers to dodge unemployment taxes and workers’ compensation insurance premiums. The unregistered companies also do not carry a bond or insurance — problems for a homeowner if something goes wrong with the job.

Report unregistered contractors at the agency website or by calling 1-888-811-5974 toll free.

State minimum wage increases to $8.67 for 2011

January 1, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 1, 2011

The state minimum wage increases 12 cents to $8.67 per hour for 2011.

The minimum wage applies to workers in agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, though 14- and 15-year-old employees may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.37 per hour.

The state Department of Labor & Industries adjusts the minimum wage each year in September as required by Initiative 688.

The initiative requires the state to adjust the minimum wage to correspond to the change in the federal Consumer Price Index — a national index covering the cost of goods and services needed for everyday living. The index rose 1.4 percent during the 12 months ending Aug. 31, 2010.

Evergreen State voters approved the Initiative 688 in 1998.

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Remember to practice ladder safety during holiday decorating

November 26, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Nov. 26, 2010

Thanksgiving is history and the holiday season is ready to blaze forth in lights and decorations hung from eaves, roofs and other difficult-to-reach spots.

Using a ladder to hang seasonal decorations carries risks. The state Department of Labor & Industries reminds homeowners and employers to practice ladder safety as the holiday season starts.

Each year, falls related to ladders injure almost 900 workers across Washington. Such falls can result in permanent disability and even death.

Under state law, employers must train workers required to use a ladder to follow safety precautions and how to recognize ladder hazards. Use the following 10 tips for ladder safety during holiday decorating: Read more

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