Labor Groups Say Cleveland's New $15 City Worker Minimum Wage Might Not Apply to Everyone

Jun 27, 2017

SEIU, Local 1, which represents janitors at City of Cleveland buildings, says the new increase might not apply to everyone across the board.
Credit MARK BELOKOPYTOV / FLICKR

The Cleveland mayor’s office says about 500 city workers would see their pay rise to a minimum of $15 an hour under a proposal by Mayor Frank Jackson. Labor groups gave their reaction to the raise.

The Service Employees International Union Local 1 represents janitors at the airport and city buildings. Some number of its members would see their pay go up, the union says. Exactly how many wasn’t clear.

Sandra Ellington, Local 1’s executive chair, says she’d like a minimum wage increase for all workers.

“We just want our neighbors to have it. We want our friends to have it. We want our family to have it. We want to be equal across the board as much as we can,” she said.

A different branch of the SEIU, Local 1199, said the increase was welcome news for workers. But the group also called it a “political stunt” by Mayor Jackson. Local 1199 endorsed opponent Jeff Johnson for mayor in this year’s election, and pushed for a citywide increase in the minimum wage.

The mayor says he opposes an increase that applies only to workers within the city limits, but would back a statewide raise.