City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke proposes $15 minimum wage in Baltimore
Baltimore would become the latest jurisdiction to require businesses to pay workers at least $15 an hour under controversial legislation City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke plans to introduce Monday.
The minimum wage in Baltimore would increase incrementally until it reaches the full amount by 2020, affecting up to 80,000 low-wage workers — about a quarter of the city’s workforce. Amid a nationwide push for higher wages, other cities and states already have passed similar increases.
The proposal is being made one day before the one-year anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray from injuries suffered in police custody and the unrest that followed.
“That led us as a city to be concerned about a lot of the issues that underlie such unrest,” Clarke said, “and one of them is certainly economic equity and the divide between people who are working sometimes three jobs and still are going to the church pantry at the end of the month to feed their families.”
“We’re in line with what’s happening and what has to happen” to help people become self-sufficient, she said. “Subsidies are not what working people want.”
But critics said raising wages higher than elsewhere in the state would put the city and its businesses at a disadvantage and lead to job losses and higher prices.