Greensboro will increase minimum wage for city workers

Vote by City Council a victory for family-wage proponents

Supporters of raising wages, led by AFL-CIO community affiliate Working America, scored a big win in the City of Greensboro this week when city council members voted to increase the minimum wage for city workers.

View and share pictures from the City Council meeting.

Carolyn Smith, North Carolina state director for Working America, in a press release, praised the city workers for banding together and pushing the City Council to take up the issue.

“This is a step in the right direction for Greensboro and working families,” Smith said of the planned increase. “What we’ve heard from city workers is that they love Greensboro; they’re loyal to their jobs, but they struggle to take care of their families. This vote moves us closer to creating a family wage that will strengthen our community and gives businesses an incentive to follow suit.”

“It’s great to see elected leaders standing with the women and families of Greensboro,” Smith added.

Fox 8 WGHP reports:

The council supported a move Tuesday that will allow city administration to pay contract and seasonal employees (excluding Coliseum workers) a minimum of $10 an hour. Benefited employees not already earning $12 an hour would also receive a pay increase.

City Councilman Jamal Fox said this increase is the first step in getting the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

“We have to lead by example and when you take care of your people they take care of you,” said Fox. “They invest more into our community they want to do more and that’s what we want.”

Greensboro News & Record reports the move will affect about 245 City workers, many of whom take home so little pay they rely on public assistance:

Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter said she has spoken to a number of those employees, many of whom have two or three jobs and can barely make ends meet. One city employee to whom she recently spoke works 40 hours a week and depends on food stamps to feed their family, she said.

Councilwoman Yvonne Johnson said she has heard the same stories from hardworking city employees.

“Some of them are living below the poverty line,” Johnson said. “We need to make this right.”

Before the vote, Congresswoman Alma Adams, whose district includes Greensboro, led a press conference held before the City Council meeting.

“We need to stop thinking about this whole thing as increasing the minimum wage and thinking about it as helping people provide for their families at a wage they can actually live on,” said Adams.

“More than 27 percent of the people in North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District live below the poverty line, and that’s not acceptable. Many of those people live right here in Greensboro.”

Greensboro was joined by Birmingham, Alabama, whose City Council also voted to raise wages on Tuesday.

Join the fight for family-wages in the Triad: