Milwaukee proposes $15/hour wage for city employees

City of Milwaukee workers who are paid by the hour could get a raise to $15 an hour. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he is making the pitch to the Common Council – and it could get approved as soon as July 7.

"I think we all recognize that the sacrifices, and the challenges, that have occurred since the beginning of the pandemic have not fallen evenly throughout our society," Barrett said. 

The mayor said in order to do better as an employer, he is working to help the city's lowest-paid hourly employees.

Milwaukee City Hall

Milwaukee City Hall

"With the approval of the Common Council, we will adjust compensation so that everyone employed by the City of Milwaukee will be paid at least $15 an hour," Barrett said.

The mayor said the cost for these changes will be included in his city budget proposal for 2022. 

"This is going to cost about $1.4 million for the City of Milwaukee. Just to give you a sense of how many individuals will be currently impacted – we have about 405 or so current employees who will be impacted by this change. And 66.7% of those are City of Milwaukee residents," said Makda Fessahaye, Director for the Department of Employee Relations.

Right now, the lowest-paid hourly employees make $8.19 an hour. Mayor Barrett said the pay raise, if passed, would happen all at once – and not be a gradual increase.

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"There are several hundred employees who will see an increase in their pay if my proposal wins approval. Starting in September, again this is based on the assumption that the council approves this,  the change will impact: some library circulation assistants, some school crossing guards, some temporary election workers, fire cadets, police aides, and various other workers in city government," Barrett said.

Additionally, it would not impact those who contract with the city.

FOX6 News has reached out to Common Council President Cavalier Johnson for his thoughts on the mayor's proposal. We have not yet heard back.

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