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Jackson City Council spikes proposal to set $15+ minimum wage for city employees, some contractors

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Jackson City Council spiked a proposal on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 that would have set a minimum wage for city employees and many contractors.

The failed proposal would have set a $15.68 hourly pay floor for city employees and many contractors.

The Jackson City Council has voted down a proposal that would have increased the minimum wage for city employees and certain contractors.

Mayor Derek Dobies introduced the proposal, which would have established an hourly pay floor of $15.68 for people who work for the city of Jackson.

Dobies said he based that threshold on a model from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that calculates the "living wage" needed to support two working adults and a child in the Jackson area.

"What we're talking about here is using city resources to .... make an impact on the poverty that we see across our community [and] put resources back into working people's pockets," Dobies said.

Businesses that contract with the city would have been required to pay at least $15.68 hourly if they weren't offering health care to employees. Contractors with health insurance would have been able to pay just $13.32.

Michigan's minimum wage is $9.65.

City Council Member Laura Dwyer Schlecte said the ordinance would have driven up costs for city contracting. And she said the pay bump would have benefited more people outside the city since many of the employees who work for city vendors don't live in Jackson.

"We're just taking our taxpayer dollars and moving them out to the outlying communities," she said.

The measure failed 5-2 this week with only Dobies and Council Member Will Forgrave in favor.

Dobies' proposal would have also increased wages over time to account for inflation. The measure would have covered vendors that contract with the city for at least $10,000 over a 12-month period and it included exemptions for internships, work studies and nonprofit summer programs.

Sarah Lehr is a politics and civics reporter for WKAR News.
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