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By Don Walton and Chris Dunker
Lincoln Journal Star, July 7, 2022 

... Raise the Wage Nebraska had its own news conference earlier Thursday where it announced it had gathered more than 160,000 signatures on a petition to gradually raise Nebraska’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026. That's nearly double the required number of signatures it needed. It also said it had gathered names from voters in all 93 counties across the state. ...

The campaign also found backing from several business owners, who said ensuring workers could earn a livable wage produced better employees, which was better for their companies.

Alma Cerretta, the owner of Mana Games and Café in the Haymarket, said as a longtime worker in the service industry she’s seen how low pay hurts employees and businesses.

The café that opened in the Creamery Building in January pays its employees a starting wage of $11 per hour, above the state law of $9 per hour, Cerretta said, with plans to increase that further.

Paying a fair wage to employees makes them happy, which in turn provides better customer service that keeps customers coming back, she said.

“In opening Mana, we knew we wanted to avoid the low-pay, high-turnover, low-morale business model that is way too common in our industry,” Cerretta said. ...

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