TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) -- Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith vetoed a minimum wage increase for tribal workers and businesses Tuesday.
But Smith says he still supports raising the minimum wage and urged the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council to "phase-in" an increase. The council approved raising the $5.15 federal minimum wage to $8 an hour on Sept. 11.
Smith says immediately raising the minimum wage to $8 an hour would mean that a new worker would earn the same salary as a dedicated employee who has worked for the tribe for three years.
Tribal officials say the Cherokee Nation employs more than 6,000 people. All of them currently earn more than minimum wage.