July 31, 2015
Supporters urged to pack City Council meeting on Aug. 3
What do you need to make ends meet?
To answer that question, earlier this week AFL-CIO community affiliate Working America joined other groups and local unions in Greensboro to host a community panel that was also attended by Mayor Nancy Vaughn and members of the City Council and Guilford County Commission.
Greensboro News & Record covered the discussion:
Local municipalities can lead by example, said Carolyn Smith, state director of Working America, which advocates for workers rights and the poor. The group is working with nonprofits such as the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative and the Worthy Wage Campaign. The group has been working in the Triad the last three years.
“We’ve been having these conversations at their doors,” Smith said of city employees.
The group’s research, for example, found that 397 Greensboro city employees made less than the proposed family wage of $15 an hour, or $30,746 annually. Raising the wage floor, according to the group’s numbers, would cost the city an additional $1.8 million per year. That amounts to less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the city’s annual budget of $488 million.
Fox 8 WGHP also reported on the panel:
According to the 2014 Living Income Standard, it takes making $14.78 an hour for an adult to make ends meet if they have one child.
“The workers we talked to — from the ones that clean our roads, to the ones who clean our bathrooms and the ones that work in our libraries — they love their job,” said Smith. “What people don’t realize is a lot of these workers are receiving public assistance.
According to City Council member Jamal Fox, the City of Greensboro may soon do something about that:
“We’re not saying no. What we’re saying is, how can we make this happen moving forward?” said Fox. “We’re trying to figure out where we can invest. It may come out that we can’t do $15/hour coming in next budget. We may have to start low and work up to that level. We’re working with staff on that now.”
Fox hopes the City of Greensboro will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for city workers by the 2022-2023 fiscal year.