BALTIMORE (WJZ) — City Council is not fighting back after the mayor said workers within the City won’t be getting a raise.
Even council members who supported a higher minimum wage say they don’t know how to fight the mayor’s decision, but it won’t be with another vote.
The ‘Fight for Fifteen’ is back outside council chamber doors, after they seemingly won in the Baltimore City Council two weeks ago.
The coalition is bringing the power of prayer and preparation for the uncertainty of what comes next.
“It’s still important for people to be able to feed their families and have the dignity of work,” says Mark McLaurin of Service Employees International Union.
In late March, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh killed the push for a higher minimum wage, saying it could be bad for the City’s budget and bad for business.
“While the City Council wanted to move the minimum wage, I believe the fight does belong at the state level,” Pugh says.
A sentiment echoed by small businesses.
Maryland’s workers currently earn $8.75 an hour. That will increase to $10.10 in 2018.
If Baltimore City Council had it’s way workers would have taken home $15 an hour by 2022.
Since the ‘Fight for Fifteen’ died on the mayor’s desk, sources say some of the City Council members who voted in favor are now backing away, making it unlikely that the council will override the veto.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke has been key in getting the fight this far.
“We’ll keep working toward it, and we’ll find a way,” Clark says.
“I want the mayor to reconsider her position. I’m here to say I want the City Council to reaffirm its position. And, for us to find a way to lift up the wages of the poorest people in the City,” says Reverend David Carl Olson of the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore.
The mayor and local businesses are concerned that retailers here would move out of the City if the minimum wage went up, forcing customers to go with them.
In a letter to City Council, Mayor Pugh promises to focus on bringing jobs and job training to the City instead.