Cherokee Nation Proposes Minimum Wage Increase for Employees

Cherokee Nation Tribal Council member Don Garvin proposed creating a minimum wage for employees of the Cherokee Nation and its business entities. The proposal would increase the minimum hourly wage for employees of the Cherokee Nation and its business entities to $7.25 over the next three years.

“The federal minimum wage hasn’t increased since 1997,” Garvin said. “We have created thousands of new jobs for Cherokees in the last few years with our businesses, and I want to make sure these people are earning a fair living.”

The current federal minimum wage is $5.15. Garvin’s proposal would increase the minimum wage to $5.85 effective October 1, increasing to $6.55 a year later and $7.25 in two years.

“Helping our young families, our teens and our single parents with additional income for their hard work is a must with the rising cost of putting food on the table and paying the bills,” Garvin said.

The proposal, which will be considered at the council’s Rules Committee meeting August 31, has the support of Principal Chief Chad Smith.

“This proposal makes sure that our hard working employees can earn a living wage in the coming years,” Smith said. “We have seen the rising cost of gasoline create hardships on Cherokees who are working to support their families. We feel we should help those who are trying to help themselves.”

Garvin noted that another minimum wage proposal is also on the agenda and that the differences are probably minor. “I think we can work together to make this happen.”

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