Prince George’s County Council Chair Andrea C. Harrison, District of Columbia Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and Montgomery County Council Member Marc Elrich came together Oct. 9 in an effort to create a regional minimum wage.

The three local leaders addressed the minimum wage issue at a recent meeting of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments in Washington, D.C.

Prince George’s County Council Chair Andrea C. Harrison said in a press release, “While the minimum wage has not increased in several years, the cost of nearly every essential resource for daily living—food, housing, utilities, transportation, and healthcare-continues to rise. Increasing the minimum wage will help disadvantaged workers better provide for themselves and their families and improve their overall quality of life.”

This proposed legislation would, beginning July 1, 2017; adjust the minimum wage for inflation in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, or the minimum wage pursuant to FLSA, whichever is greater.

A hearing on Prince George’s minimum wage legislative proposal will be held by the Council’s Public Safety and Fiscal Management Committee on Oct. 17, at 1:30 p.m. in Upper Marlboro.

The D.C. Council has a series of wage bills scheduled for public hearings before its Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Committee at 10 a.m. Oct. 28, in the Wilson Building. The Council’s objective is to approve a bill that will eventually establish the minimum wage at $11.50 per hour.

D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson said in a press release, “In two decades, the minimum wage has fallen far below the rate of inflation. Working together, we can restore some measure of equity for the lowest paid workers without fear of losing business across our borders.”

Montgomery County Council Bill 27-13 would provide credit for an employer who provides health insurance to the employee. The County minimum wage would be phased in over several years. The rate would increase to $8.25 per hour on July 1, 2014; $9.75 per hour on July 1, 2015, and $11.50 per hour on July 1, 2016. Beginning July 1, 2017, the rate would be raised by any increase in the Consumer Price Index on an annual basis.

“Maryland’s minimum wage at $7.25 per hour is the equivalent of $15,000 a year for a full-time, year-round employee, and that leaves a wage earner and their family below the federal poverty line,” Montgomery County Council Member Marc Elrich said in a press release. “We are not talking about people who are trying to take advantage of the system—we are talking about people who just want to take care of their families as a result of the hard work they do, and at the current minimum wage, that is not possible.”

A public hearing on Bill 27-13 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 24.

Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer