Buttigieg proposes accelerated minimum wage increase for city employees

Published: Oct. 10, 2016 at 5:39 PM EDT
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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced Monday that he's seeking to raise the city's minimum wage ahead of schedule.

The mayor's three-year plan originally called for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018.

Buttigieg has included the $10.10 rate in his 2017 proposed salary ordinance. The South Bend Common Council will vote on the proposal Monday evening.

Shaun Gallagher is at the meeting and will have a full report.

From the Office of the Mayor:

Mayor Buttigieg announced today that his proposed salary ordinance for 2017 will raise the minimum wage for city employees to $10.10, accelerating the city’s ongoing commitment to minimum wage increases.

Lowest-paid city employees will see an increase of nearly $2.00 per hour compared to the current city rate of $8.20. The Common Council will give public hearing to the proposal as part of the 2017 salary ordinance for the City.

“As a leading employer, we need to practice what we preach when it comes to good wages,” Buttigieg said. “We are raising the minimum wage of our city employees to increase productivity while cutting turnover. These wages will flow directly into the local economy, and we believe it’s the right thing to do given the availability of funds this year.”

The 2016 budget increased the hourly minimum for city employees from $7.25 to $8.20, and the Mayor’s three-year plan originally called for an increase to $10.10 by 2018. Today’s announcement means the promise will be kept one year ahead of schedule.

Wages for working families have been falling in real terms for years, and Buttigieg has urged local businesses to match the city’s commitment to fair work practices. The state minimum wage has remained at $7.25, the federal minimum, since 2009. A full-time worker earning $7.25 per hour has an annual income of approximately $15,000, which is below the poverty line for a family of two or more people.