July 21, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Cleveland, OH – The Cleveland City Council should not raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, its workforce committee recommended July 13.
The committee also rejected an alternative proposal by Councilmember Jeffrey Johnson that would phase in the increase, to $11 in January and reaching $15 in 2021. Five of the Council’s 17 members endorsed that gradual increase, but both Council President Kevin Kelley and Mayor Frank Jackson oppose a “Cleveland-only” minimum, saying it would make businesses leave the city. The Council is scheduled to vote on the increase next month. Demonstrators organized by the SEIU-backed Raise Up Cleveland, which had collected enough petition signatures to force the Council to consider the bill, packed the committee’s room at City Hall after marching over from Public Square. Raise Up Cleveland has also been collecting signatures to put the $15 minimum on the city ballot in November, but that faces both technical and legal obstacles. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine declared June 30 that the state constitution gives the authority to pass wage and hour laws to the state legislature, a conclusion seconded by city Law Director Barbara Langhenry. The state minimum wage is $8.10. Read more