Alachua Commission to Discuss Raising Minimum Wage For County Workers

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Members of the Alachua County Labor Coalition and Gainesville residents demonstrate outside McDonald’s as part of the “Fight for $15” campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Photo courtesy of Mary Bahr
Members of the Alachua County Labor Coalition and Gainesville residents demonstrate outside McDonald’s as part of the “Fight for $15” campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Photo courtesy of Mary Bahr

The Alachua County Commission will vote on a living wage ordinance at its meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The ordinance, supported by the Alachua County Labor Coalition, would raise the minimum wage for county workers and county-contracted workers to $14.57 per hour, or 125 percent of the federal poverty level.

The wage is currently $12 per hour for county workers, but contracted workers paid by outside companies can earn as low as Florida minimum wage, which is $8.05,  Jeremiah Tattersall, lead organizer of the Alachua County Labor Coalition, said.

The coalition is aiming to raise the wage by about $1 per year until the desired $14.57 is reached. For workers who do not receive health care benefits, the wage would be higher, Tattersall said.

“We’re on track to get there,” he said, citing a previous minimum wage increase in 2015 from $10.22 per hour to $12 per hour.

Tattersall said he felt possible exemptions to the ordinance will be discussed heavily at the meeting. While the coalition wants the ordinance to apply to all county workers and county-contracted workers, he’s concerned the county may call for exemptions for some employees, such as nonprofit workers or workers under a contract of less than $50,000.

“The major thrust of contention will be who will be getting living wages and who will be exempt,” Tattersall said. “I think at the end of the day something is going to pass, but whether it will be all workers I don’t know.”

About Melissa Smith

I am a journalism and sustainability studies student at the University of Florida.

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