JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Today, Jackson Mayor, Derek Dobies introduced a new Living Wage Ordinance that would create a $15.68 wage standard for city employees, government contractors and companies receiving public subsidies.
This rate is derived from a model for the living wage of two working adults with one child in the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area. The ordinance also provides a lower rate of $13.32 per hour for employers that provide healthcare to its employees.
Under the proposal, both rates would adjust annually by percentages equivalent to any increases in the federal poverty rate.
Dobies plans to change the wage standard to ensure that public spending creates good family supporting jobs.
Dobies says the effort seeks to use city funds to confront the poverty many face in Jackson, and take action to defeat efforts to criminalize poverty.
“Criminalizing poverty is not a solution. As a city, we will continue to confront the poverty we face with bold, proven policy solutions. When we expend public dollars, assign contracts, or award grants we should do so with wages that do not normalize or exacerbate the poverty that we see here.”Jackson Mayor, Derek Dobies
The mayor believes that the decline of the minimum wage, relative to the cost of living, has contributed to the growth of income inequality and poverty over the past three decades.
Nearly one in three now live under the federal poverty level in the City of Jackson.
“We’ve seen the pandemic take a toll on working people in our city, many of whom were already struggling to get by. This compassionate policy is one tool that we can use to get people back on their feet and build financial stability. In passing this policy, the City can also raise the standards for what other private sector businesses and nonprofits pay their employees through competition and market forces.”Ken Toll, CEO of the United Way of Jackson County
Since the early 1990s, more than 120 cities and counties across the country have passed living-wage ordinances. These ordinances try to pay employees a wage that lets them live above the federal poverty level, and have those rates adjusted annually.