BALTIMORE (WJZ) – The fight for fifteen has taken a major step forward in Baltimore City.
According to our media partners at The Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore City Council’s labor committee has voted to advance a bill to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.
The bill now goes to a full council for a preliminary vote.
The bill potentially makes Baltimore a leader as far as workers are concerned, but there’s some worry that it would put businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
“Cities that stand for $15 increases and fair minimum wages do not find themselves at a disadvantage in terms of competition with surrounding counties,” says councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke. “Now, that doesn’t mean that people are not concerned, and they have every right to be.”
Count Bob Simka, of Max’s Taphouse in Fells Point, among the concerned.
“I just want to point out the fact that, coming from basically a small business as a manager and I’ve been here 22 years, we’re pretty much shocked and appalled that our elected officials in city council have no idea what it takes to run a business, have no idea what it takes to make payroll,” he says.
The bill would exempt workers under 21 from the wage hike and give businesses with fewer than 50 employees until 2026 to comply with the $15-an-hour wage.
Mayor Catherine Pugh addressed the situation on Wednesday, warning the council to consider constraints on Baltimore’s budget, pointing to the city school system’s $130 million budget gap and the U.S Department of Justice consent decree with Police as new expenses.