New Orleans council members propose minimum wage increase to $15 an hour

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Updated: Jun. 13, 2021 at 12:16 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -New Orleans Councilmember Jared Brossett along with council members Kristen Palmer, Donna Glapion, Jay Banks, and Cyndi Nguyen introduced an amendment to the Living Wage Ordinance that would increase it to $15 an hour.

You can read the full ordinance here.

The living wage requirements apply to contractors with $25,000 or more in annual city contracts, recipients of city financial assistance of $100,000 or more, and employee time that is spent on city contracts or projects involving city aid.

Brossett authored the original ordinance years ago.

“It’s an investment in our residents and a moral obligation to those who are providing and performing the vital labor that keeps our city moving forward,” said Brossett. “Nobody can live off of $7.25. People are struggling.”

Advocates of higher wages say this upgrade is the city following through on it’s commitment.

The group ‘Step up Louisiana’ says this is a victory years in the making; beginning in 2013 when hundreds of fast food workers first organized over a dozen strikes in the area.

The group ‘Stand with Dignity’ in 2015 worked with city leaders to push through the first ordinance to raise the minimum wage for city workers and contractors covering everything from recycling and sanitation to construction work. Now, that ordinance will likely be amended to up the starting wage to $15 an hour.

The increase would be phased in over two years, requiring $13.25 on January 1, 2022, and the full $15 starting January 1, 2023.

The amendment added a provision stipulating that any contract or city financial assistance agreement longer than one year includes annual inflation adjustments to the mandated living wage requirement. This ensures that employees receive a living wage for the duration of a contract. As long as the contractor is receiving city tax dollars, his employees must be paid a living wage adjusted for inflation.

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