Birmingham, Alabama Votes To Increase Minimum Wage

| by Sean Kelly

The city council in Birmingham, Alabama, announced on Tuesday the passing of an ordinance that will increase the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 over the next two years. 

The ordinance made it so that the wage floor will increase from the current $7.25 an hour to $8.50 by July 2016, and finally to $10.10 in July 2017, AL.com reported.

If the ordinance — which is currently being reviewed by the city’s legal department — were to take effect, it would allegedly be the first in the Southeast United States.

“We're just trying to do what we think is best for our citizens and our workers,” Council President Jonathan Austin, who submitted the ordinance, said, according to AL.com. Austin was one of eight council members who voted in favor of the wage increase.

Councilwoman Valerie Abbot refrained from voting on the measure, saying that she wanted to wait to hear an opinion from the law department.

“We want to make a wise decision... and help people,” she said. “Is anyone looking at this to determine possible repercussions? We don't want those unintended consequences that we often suffer when we rush to do something to make people happy.”

The state of Alabama currently does not have a minimum wage law, meaning that the standard minimum is the federal floor of $7.25. A full time employee working 20 to 30 hours per week at a minimum wage job in Alabama makes roughly $15,000 a year. Approximately 30 percent of Birmingham residents lived below the poverty line between 2009 and 2013, WIAT News reported.

Sources: AL.com, WIAT

Photo credit: Maryland GovPics/Flickr, Kelly Poe/AL.com