Here is a look at some of this week’s minimum wage stories from around the country. The American Booksellers Association is encouraging its members to reach out to town, county, or state officials to ensure they have a voice in any minimum wage discussions that take place in their communities.
- Washington, D.C.: Despite Protests From Business Groups, Mayor’s Minimum Wage Increase Moves Forward
- Ohio: Cleveland Mayor Urges Leaders to Denounce City’s Minimum Wage
On June 1, Washington, D.C.’s Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs voted unanimously to pass B21-712, the “Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2016,” a proposal sponsored by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. The D.C. Council is expected to vote on the measure sometime in June.
“I applaud the D.C. Council for taking this important step toward raising the hourly minimum wage to $15,” Mayor Bowser said in a press statement. “I introduced this legislation to put more money in the pockets of working families, and put more people on a pathway to the middle class…. I look forward to continuing to work with key stakeholders, the public, and the council to enact the Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2016 into law. Together, we will ensure that every resident in the District of Columbia gets a fair shot.”
According to the Washington Post, the D.C. Council is unlikely to significantly alter the mayor’s minimum wage proposal prior to its vote. The proposal calls for Washington, D.C.’s minimum wage to increase by approximately 70 cents per year, to reach $15 per hour by 2020. After 2020, the minimum wage per hour would be indexed according to inflation.
However, the minimum wage may increase much sooner than that. The Washington Post noted that labor unions and other activists are collecting signatures to put a flat $15 minimum wage measure on the District’s November ballot.
Following last Wednesday’s vote, the groups criticized Mayor Bowser and the council because her proposal allowed a discrepancy in wages for tipped workers. “I guess it’s going to be up to voters to make the decision as to whether $15 should be the wage for everyone, or if we continue with this antiquated way of paying people a sub-minimum wage,” Delvone Michael, executive director of DC Working Families and a member of the coalition pushing the ballot measure, told the Post.
Meanwhile, many Washington business groups say they oppose the ballot measure and are urging the Board of Elections to reject it, the article noted. The D.C. Chamber of Commerce recently released the results of a poll of business owners in which half of the respondents said that they would likely cut jobs if the minimum wage rose to $15 per hour.
While Cleveland city council members mull over a proposal that would increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour (while the rest of Ohio stays at $8.10 per hour), Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Council President Kevin Kelley are urging state and national leaders to denounce the wage increase, as reported by Cleveland.com.
Jackson and Kelley have written 19 letters to members of Congress, state legislators, and others, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who is now running for the U.S. Senate.
In their letters, Jackson and Kelley stress that they support a minimum wage increase, but only if it is mandated by the state or federal government. “We are both on record opposing this minimum wage increase, as it will only be effective in the City of Cleveland, yet is an issue that clearly should be addressed on either a national or state-wide level,” they said. “A Cleveland-only minimum wage would put our city at an economic disadvantage, which will result in disinvestment and the loss of jobs. To achieve a full economic impact, this has to be a unified effort throughout Ohio and the United States, not just in Cleveland.”
Cleveland’s minimum wage proposal came about as a result of a petition drive pushed by Raise Up Cleveland, an organization supported by the Service Employees International Union, according to Cleveland.com. If the proposal is rejected by the council, petitioners can bring the proposal to a vote.