On August 18, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed into law a new living wage ordinance for New Orleans’ city contractors and financial assistance recipients.
“If you’re working full-time, you should not be living below the poverty line,” Landrieu said.
The ordinance was sponsored by Councilmember Jared Brossett. It will apply to city contractors with contracts worth at least $25,000 and to companies or organizations that receive more than $100,000 in financial assistance from the city, including subsidies and tax breaks, over a 12-month period. Covered businesses must also provide workers with seven days of paid sick leave annually.
TakePart’s profile of the workers who came to help rebuild New Orleans 10 years ago and who remain, despite wage theft and discrimination. Their story is very much the heart of the Workplace Justice Project and the Wage Claim Clinic and is still an essential element of the landscape for low-wage workers in New Orleans.
“In his 2015 budget presentation to the New Orleans City Council this month, Mayor Mitch Landrieu introduced a minimum wage hike for city employees that would bring them to the $10.10 figure — which, if approved, will add $596,000 to the proposed $537 million budget. Last month Landrieu signed his name to a letter addressed to Congress supporting passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would set the federal minimum wage at $10.10 an hour.
“But if it’s good enough for New Orleans city employees, why not the rest of us? Unfortunately, no Louisiana city can make that change because Louisiana law forbids municipal governments from setting their own minimum wage. The New Orleans City Council passed a resolution in January urging Gov. Bobby Jindal and state legislators to raise the minimum wage statewide, but it was largely a symbolic act. This year, then-State Rep. Jared Brossett’s bill to make the state minimum wage $10.10 an hour was rejected in committee, as was another proposal to let local governments set alternative minimum wages.
“Any change in the state or local minimum wage, therefore, will have to come at the federal level. A $10.10 minimum wage would mean a pay raise for more than 500,000 workers in Louisiana. The Louisiana Budget Project (LBP) estimates a higher minimum wage would pump $689 million into the state’s sluggish economy by giving workers more spending power. Critics of a higher minimum wage say it would discourage employers and lower employment, while the LBP cites the example of Oregon, which lured eager Idaho workers with a minimum wage of nearly $2 per hour more. Both sides can point to statistics, but it’s worth noting that states with no minimum wage laws, like Louisiana, are some of the poorest in the nation — and the most dependent on federal aid.”
Read more in the Gambit here.
Workplace Justice Project volunteer Karla Rosas writes an Op Ed for The Maroon about what it means to live in a community and truly be a part of it: “When we claim a place as our home, we have to be prepared to actively love and nurture it. When we claim something as part of who we are, we have to acknowledge that any flaws in it are a reflection of our shortcomings as well.” Read the full piece here.
The Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University provides engaging opportunities for learning about Latin America through the New Orleans community with the semesterly Enlaces Américas Audio Podcast Series. The final series of the spring semester will be aired THIS Friday, May 9th between 8:00 am – 8:30 am on WTUL 91.5 FM or if you are at your computer, you can listen online: http://www.wtulneworleans.com/. This batch of podcasts focuses on New Orleans immigrants highlighting issues of access to healthcare, education, and small business ownership in New Orleans. Check it out Friday morning or later by clicking on the “MEDIA” tab on the Stone Center website where all podcasts are archived: http://stonecenter.tulane.edu/
“What was likely the last gasp came in a meeting of the Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations, where state Sen. Ben Nevers asked his colleagues to advance legislation setting minimum wage at $9.50 an hour. Committee members listened, asked a few questions, killed Senate Bill 123 and adjourned for the weekend.
“On the other side of the State Capitol, the House Labor Committee already held the funerals for a slate of bills that sought to tinker with minimum wage. One of the dead proposals would have set a minimum wage of $8.25 beginning on July 1, 2015, and then gradually increased it. Another would have created a $10.10 minimum wage.
“Still in circulation is Senate Bill 46, which would establish a minimum wage of $10 an hour, even higher than Nevers’ proposal. State Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, D-Baton Rouge, could have run with the bill Thursday but didn’t. “Maybe some of my colleagues may have a change of heart this weekend,” she said.”
Louisiana remains one of a handful of states in the U.S. without an established minimum wage. Read more of the story here.
Should Louisiana develop its own minimum wage?
“Louisiana is the third poorest state in the country behind Mississippi and New Mexico. It’s also one of five states that haven’t established their own minimum wage laws. The current federal minimum wage rate is $7.25 an hour. Twenty-one states already have minimum wages above the federal rate and six more states have pending legislation to raise theirs. At least four Louisiana lawmakers will be pushing to enact a state minimum wage this session, with one bill setting the rate at $10.10 per hour. So, should Louisiana develop its own minimum wage? And would such a move help the state’s working poor or ultimately hurt them through increased unemployment? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Louisiana & the Minimum Wage” airing Wednesday, March 26th at 7 p.m. on LPB HD. (Record date, Tuesday, March 25th.)”
Will testimonies of everyday Louisiana workers persuade legislature to raise minimum wage? Reporter Kortlynn Johnson interviews Erika Zucker, WJP Policy Advocate, to find out out how Together Louisiana prepares for the 2014 legislative proposal to raise minimum wage.
“Louisianans of all political stripes strongly favor establishing a state minimum wage of at least $8.50 an hour that would keep pace with the cost of living, according to polling data released as part of a new report from the Louisiana Budget Project.”
Read the rest of this news article by the Louisiana Budget Project.