Prepared by ACORN
Listed below, in reverse chronological order, are examples of local living wage laws tying wage and/or benefits requirements to government contract eligibility or other government financial assistance. *
Hayward, CA (1999) -- In April, the Hayward City Council approved the Hayward Living Wage Ordinance which provided that a living wage be paid to direct employees of the City of Hayward, as well as employees of certain firms contracting with the city for at least $25,000. The living wage is set at no less than $8.00 an hour if health benefits are paid to the employees, or $9.25 per hour if no such benefits are paid. The wage will be upwardly adjusted annually in accordance with the area cost of living calculation. The contracted service categories covered under the policy are: automotive repair and maintenance, facility and building maintenance, janitorial and custodial, landscaping, laundry services, temporary personnel, pest control, security services, and social service agencies. The ordinance entitles covered workers to a minimum of 12 paid days off and 5 uncompensated days off per year. The ordinance also allows for the terms of a collective bargaining agreement to provide that said agreement may supersede the requirements of the living wage ordinance upon mutual agreement by both parties (Alameda County Central Labor Council, Hayward Democratic Club).
Madison, WI (1999) -- In March, the Madison City Council passed an ordinance that requires employers holding city service contracts (and their subcontractors) worth at least $5,000 and firms receiving $100,000 or more in financial assistance (and their contractors) from the city to pay employees on city funded projects a living wage of at least $7.91 an hour. The wage will be upwardly adjusted in two steps to 110% of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of four by January 1, 2001 and continuing thereafter. City of Madison employees are also covered. The ordinance also allows that the terms of a collective bargaining agreement may supersede the requirements of the living wage ordinance (Progressive Dane/New Party, South Central Federation of Labor).
Dane County, WI (1999) -- In March, the Dane County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance requiring that a living wage be paid to county employees, employees of county service contractors, subcontractors, and beneficiaries of economic development assistance of $5,000 or more from the county. The living wage is established at the federal poverty level for a family of four, currently $8.03 an hour. By July 1, 1999 a Living Wage Review Council will make recommendations on possible adjustments for employers that do not provide health insurance (Progressive Dane/New Party, South Central Federation of Labor, Developmental Disabilites Coalition).
Hudson County, NJ (1999) -- In January, the Hudson County Board of Freeholders unanimously adopted an ordinance requiring County service contractors employing security, food service, and janitorial workers to pay all employees working at least 20 hours per week on County contracts at an hourly rate of pay of 150% of the federal minimum wage, currently $7.73 an hour. Contractors must also provide health benefits and one week paid vacation to these employees.
San Jose, CA (1998) -- In November, the San Jose City Council voted to require companies holding city service contracts worth at least $20,000 to pay those employed on such contracts a wage of at least $9.50 an hour with health benefits, or $10.75 if the company does not provide benefits. In addition, the ordinance requires companies seeking these service contracts to provide assurances of good labor relations and requires certain companies awarded a new contract by the city to offer jobs to the employees of the city's former contractor. Employees of companies receiving direct financial grants from the city valued at $100,000 or more in a year are also covered. The contracted service categories covered under the policy are: automotive repair and maintenance, food service, janitorial, landscaping, laundry, office/clerical, parking lot management, pest control, property maintenance, recreation, security shuttle services, street sweeping, and towing (South Bay AFL-CIO/Working Partnerships USA with ACORN and other groups).
Detroit, MI (1998) -- At the ballot box on November 3, Detroit voters overwhelmingly approved a living wage measure that requires city service contractors or recipients of city financial assistance worth $50,000 or more to pay employees a wage equivalent to the federal poverty line for a family of four, currently $8.35 an hour (the ordinance calculates the work year at 40 hrs./50 weeks a year), or 125% of the poverty line, $10.44 an hour, if no health benefits are provided. The ordinance also requires companies to attempt to hire Detroit residents to fill any new jobs created as a result of the contract or assistance granted by the city (Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO with ACORN and other groups).
Multnomah County, OR (1998) -- In October, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners passed a living wage policy that requires county janitorial and security services contractors to pay their employees a combined wage and benefit package of $9.00 per hour (adjusted annually by the Consumer Price Index). The County's action will also apply to food service contracts when those are rebid in 2000. In addition, the resolution includes a retention provision requiring new janitorial contractors to first interview employees of the previous contractor before hiring new workers. Language in the ordinance commits living wage advocates and County officials to a joint lobbying effort aimed at increasing state funding sources that would enable the County to extend the current living wage policy to social service contract workers (Jobs with Justice, Oregon Public Employees Union Local 503, New Party).
Boston, MA (1997, amended 1998) -- In September of 1998, the Boston City Council approved an amended version of an earlier, more comprehensive living wage ordinance. In its current form, the ordinance requires companies getting city service contracts worth at least $100,000 (or subcontracts of at least $25,000) to pay their employees a wage at least $8.23 an hour, equal to the poverty level for a family of four upon date of passage (assuming 40 hrs/50 wks. a yr.), indexed annually on July 1 to whichever is higher of the adjusted poverty guidelines or 110% of the state minimum wage. The measure also includes community hiring provisions for both contractors and recipients of subsidies or other financial assistance, requires covered companies to report on jobs created and wages paid, and creates a Living Wage Advisory Committee to oversee the implementation of the ordinance (ACORN, Greater Boston Labor Council and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO led the 40-member Boston Jobs and Living Wage Coalition).
Pasadena, CA (1998) -- On September 14, the Pasadena City Council adopted a living wage ordinance which requires city service contractors (with contracts worth at least $25,000) to pay employees $7.25 per hour, $8.50 if health benefits are not provided. In August, the Coalition succeeded in getting the City to make a permanent budget adjustment to provide the same wage and benefits package to City employees. Coalition set to work on expanding coverage to recipients of economic development and other city subsidies (Pasadena Living Wage Coalition, including Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice).
Cook County, IL (1998) -- In September, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance that requires County contractors of any size to pay employees working under such contracts at least $7.60 an hour (Commissioners Stroger, Maldonado, and Daley; Chicago Jobs and Living Wage Coalition led by ACORN, SEIU Local 880).
Chicago, IL (1998) -- In July, the Chicago City Council voted 49-0 to require for-profit city contractors and subcontractors to pay their workers at least $7.60 an hour in the following categories: home and health care workers, security guards, parking attendants, day laborers, cashiers, elevator operators, custodial workers and clerical workers (Chicago Jobs and Living Wage Coalition led by ACORN, SEIU Local 880, New Party, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless).
San Antonio, TX (1998) -- In July, the San Antonio City Council passed an ordinance adopting guidelines and criteria pertaining to tax abatements that includes a requirement for beneficiaries to pay at least 70% of employees in new jobs created at least $9.27 per hour (non-durable goods manufacturing and service companies; and $10.13/hr for durable goods manufacturing). The guidelines deem retail industry facilities ineligible for tax abatements. In addition, businesses may be eligible for more tax abatement if they fill 25% of new jobs created with economically disadvantaged individuals (COPS/Metro Alliance, San Antonio Central Labor Council).
Portland, OR (1996, amended 1998) -- June 1996 City Council ordinance required city contractors employing janitors, parking lot attendants, temporary clerical services and security workers to pay their employees $6.75/hour starting July 1, 1996, $7.00/hour in 1997. April 1998 amendment requires a new wage floor of $7.50 an hour beginning July 1, 1998 and $8.00/hour beginning July, 1999 through the year 2000. In addition, the amendment requires that such service contractors offer basic medical benefits to their employees performing work for the City (Jobs with Justice).
Oakland, CA (1998) -- In March, the Oakland City Council unanimously approved an ordinance requiring companies or non-profits that enter into service contracts with the city worth at least $25,000 or and firms that benefit from at least $100,000 in city subsidies in a year (as well as their tenants and leaseholders) to pay workers a minimum of $9.25 an hour or $8.00 if the firm provides health benefits. The wage level is to be adjusted by April 1 each year in accordance with the Bay Region Consumer Price Index, bringing the current wage requirements to $8.35 and $9.60 an hour. The ordinance entitles covered workers to 12 paid days off per year. The ordinance also allows for the terms of a collective bargaining agreement to provide that said agreement may supersede the requirements of the living wage ordinance (Oakland Jobs and Living Wage Campaign led by ACORN and the Alameda County Central Labor Council, including HERE, SEIU, UFCW, etc.).
Durham, NC (1998) -- In January, 1998 the Durham City Council passed an ordinance requiring City service contractors to pay their employees working on city projects an hourly wage at least equal to the minimum hourly wage rate paid to Durham City employees, currently $7.55 an hour.
Duluth, MN (1997) -- In July, 1997, the City Council passed a living wage ordinance requiring recipients of city economic development assistance of $25,000 or more to pay at least 90% of employees on the assisted project at least $7.25 an hour. ($6.50 with health benefits). (Coalition led by AFSCME Council 96).
Milwaukee, WI (1995,1996,1997) -- November 1995 City Council ordinance requires certain city service contractors to pay employees at least $6.05/hr, adjusted annually to the poverty level for a family of three (currently $6.67). Jan. 1996 school board measure requires all Milwaukee Public School system employees and employees of MPS contractors to be paid $7.70/hr. County Board of Supervisors voted in May 1997 to require county contractors to pay at least $6.25/hr. in the areas of janitorial, security, and parking lot attendant, indexed to increased wages of county employees (Progressive Milwaukee/New Party, Campaign for a Sustainable Milwaukee).
New Haven, CT (1997) -- In April, 1997, the Board of Aldermen passed living wage ordinance requiring city service contractors to pay their employees a wage at least equivalent to the poverty line for a family of four. The wage will be phased up to 120% of poverty over 5 years beginning July '97. The ordinance also requires such contractors to give first consideration to referrals from community based hiring halls to fill vacant service positions. (Labor/community/church coalition led by HERE Locals 34, 35, 217 ).
Los Angeles, CA (1997) -- On March 18, 1997, City Council overwhelmingly approved a living wage ordinance requiring recipients of public service contracts worth $25,000 or more as well as any business benefiting from a subsidy of at least $1,000,000 in one year or $100,000 on a continuing annual basis to pay their employees a living wage. The wage -- indexed yearly to the rise in cost of living-- is set at $7.25 an hour plus family health benefits, or $8.50 without. The wage is to be adjusted annually to correspond with adjustments to retirement benefits paid to members of the City Employees Retirement System, bringing the current wage requirements up to $7.39 and $8.64 an hour. Affected workers are entitled to 12 paid days off a year. The ordinance also allows that a collective bargaining agreement may supersede the requirements of the living wage ordinance (Los Angeles Living Wage Coalition).
Minneapolis, MN (1997) -- In March, 1997 city council unanimously passed a living wage policy requiring businesses benefiting from $100,000 or more in city assistance in one year to pay employees a living wage. The wage will be defined and indexed as 110% of the federal poverty level for a family of four, currently $8.83. Recipients of such assistance must also set a goal that 60% of new jobs created will be held by City residents. Additional provisions prohibit privatization of services currently performed by city employees that would result in lower wages, and preferences for assistance to union-friendly businesses (defined as neutrality on union organizing, providing complete list of names and addresses of employees, access to facilities during non-work hours, card-check recognition, etc.). Administrative guidelines determine implementation details (Based on recommendations of the Joint Twin Cities Living Wage Task Force -- including ACORN, New Party, and labor unions -- convened to respond to issues raised by a 1995 living wage initiative effort spearheaded by ACORN, New Party and labor).
St. Paul, MN (1997) -- In January 1997, city council unanimously passed a directive requiring recipients of $100,000 or more of city economic development assistance in one year to pay employees a living wage, defined as 110% of the federal poverty level for a family of four, currently about $8.83 an hour (100% of poverty line required for companies who provide health insurance; currently $8.03). At least 60% of new jobs created as a result of such assistance must go to St. Paul residents (As above, based on recommendations of the Living Wage Task Force, including ACORN, New Party, and labor unions).
New York City, NY (1996) -- September 1996 City Council ordinance requires that employees of city contractors for security, temporary, cleaning and food services be paid the applicable prevailing wage for the industry to be determined by the City Comptroller (Industrial Areas Foundation, Councilmember Albanese).
Jersey City, NJ (1996) -- June 1996 City Council ordinance requires that city contractors employing clerical, food service, janitorial workers, or security guards pay these workers $7.50/hour and provide health benefits and vacation (Interfaith Community Organization/IAF).
Santa Clara County, CA (1995) -- County Board of Supervisors law requires manufacturing firms applying for tax abatements to disclose how many jobs they will create, what wages and benefits they will pay, and what other subsidies they are seeking. Businesses benefiting from abatements must also pay a minimum wage of $10/hr. and provide health insurance or a suitable alternative to all permanent employees. The measure gives the county money-back guarantee protection if goals are not met (South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, California Budget Project, Working Partnership USA).
Baltimore, MD (1994) -- In December 1994 the Baltimore City Council passed a bill requiring companies that have service contracts with the city of Baltimore to pay workers $6.10/hr. The bill included steps to increase the wage to its current level of $7.70/hr. over a four year period (BUILD/Solidarity Support Committee, AFSCME).
San Jose, CA (1991) -- Prevailing wage ordinance requires city contractors to pay union-scale wages and requires the city to evaluate health benefits, workplace grievance procedures, workplace health and safety standards, and labor standard compliance records of companies bidding for city contracts.
Gary, IN (1991) -- Ordinance requires recipients of any tax abatement to pay prevailing wage and provide complete health care package to employees working over 25 hours a week. Also includes public disclosure provisions (Calumet Project for Industrial Jobs).
Des Moines, IA (1988, amended 1996) -- In 1988
City Council set a $7.00/hr. minimum compensation policy for City-funded urban renewal and
loan projects. In 1996, this policy was amended to require such city funded projects to
set a goal of a $9.00/hr. average wage, including benefits (Councilmember George Flagg).
Growing coalitions of community, labor and religious
organizations continue to organize campaigns to tie higher wages, benefits, and other
wroker protections to public contracts, tax breaks and other subsidies in cities and
counties all over the country. Such campaigns are now underway in places such as
Philadelphia, Albuquerque, St. Louis, Denver, Cleveland, Miami, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, San
Francisco, Marin County, CA, Somerville, MA, Missoula, MT, Manhattan, KS, Montgomery
County, MD, Alexandria , VA, Austin, TX, South Bend, IN, and are being explored in dozens
of additional cities, counties and states.
|If you have any questions please feel free to email us at LivingWage@SCFL.org|
go back to Living Wage Home Page