Cities increase minimum wages to $15
Several cities are increasing all or a portion of their minimum wages to $15 per hour, more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
Most cities, like San Leandro, Calif. are easing into the change. While the California city aims to have the minimum wage for all businesses with over 26 employees be $15 by 2020, the city has mandated that those businesses increase their minimum wage to $12 by July 1, 2017, according to the East Bay Times. Businesses with under 26 employees will have an extra year to comply with the wage hike, allowing them to increase their minimum wage to $17 by 2018 and $15 by 2021. The San Leandro City Council approved the plan on July 5.
"I know there's the argument that this makes the playing field uneven for local businesses, but the problem is that the playing field is uneven for local workers," Stephen Cassidy, former mayor of San Leandro told the paper.
This mirrors California Gov. Jerry Brown’s April law that will require California businesses with over 26 employees to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2022, while giving other businesses until 2023 to make the change.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation on June 27 to gradually increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 by 2020, according to the Huffington Post. The week the legislation was signed, the city’s minimum wage was hiked from $10.50 to $11.50.
After the city’s 2020 goal is reached, the rate will be annually adjusted in accord with an inflation index, the Huffington Post reports.
Georgia law does not allow municipalities to mandate the worker wages of private sector companies or companies that contract with governments. But that didn’t prevent the small town of Clarkston, Ga.’s city council from unanimously voting to increase the minimum wage of city employees to $15 an hour, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The vote impacts just three public works employees, but Clarkson is the first Georgia city to enact such a change.
“These are the guys out there in 100 degree temperatures mowing lawns and picking up trash,” Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry told the paper. “The (increase) will not only allow us to keep good quality workers, but also expand the pool of eligible workers because we’re willing to pay a decent wage.”
Meanwhile, a petition in Minneapolis to up the city’s minimum wage to $15 has garnered enough signatures to put it on the path to being on the city’s November ballot, the Star Tribune reports. City officials announced the news on July 20, noting that the proposal had to pass legal consideration procedural requirements in order to make the November ballot.
“We’re very confident in our legal analysis: we have the right, there’s no preemption from the city,” Ginger Jentzen, executive director of petition sponsor 15 Now Minnesota, told the Star Tribune.