BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There is new hope this evening for supporters of a higher minimum wage in Baltimore.
As WJZ’s Alex DeMetrick reports, new city council members could bring the votes to make it happen.
People across the country demonstrated this week for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Some were arrested.
Baltimore’s protest was more subdued, but the struggle of living with low wages is just as poignant here.
“Basically, we’re just struggling to make it,” Carolyn Taylor-Chester tells WJZ.
In Maryland, minimum wage is $8.75 per hour. It will increase to $10.10 by 2018.
A bill that’s been proposed in Baltimore would incrementally raise it to $15 by 2022.
This past August, the City Council put it to a vote. It failed, with six voting yes, eight voting no and one abstaining.
“We had promised that we would return and we are returning,” Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke says of the bill.
“We have eight new members and a lot of them have expressed support in this issue, they campaigned on it,” said Ricarra Jones, who’s with the Fight For 15 Coalition.
But some Baltimore businesses have made it clear, they believe $15 is too much.
“Every time the government wants something, their hand’s in my pocket,” said Deborah Ramano, one such business owner. “They don’t stick their hand into their own pocket.”
The Baltimore Development Corporation calculated the impact of $15 per hour. A survey of 322 city businesses found 255 would either have to lay-off workers, move or close.
“The workers here today, they say they’re going to keep demanding and keep fighting and keep coming out and try to get $15 an hour,” Jones said.
Sponsors of the bill hope to bring it back before the council in January.