Ordinance Requires that City Contractors Pay Employees a Minimum of $10.55 per hour
NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed into law an ordinance requiring City contractors and recipients of grants be paid a “living wage” of $10.55 per hour and provide a minimum of seven paid sick days. On Aug. 6, 2015, the New Orleans City Council unanimously adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,550, the “Living Wage Ordinance,” authored by District D Councilmember Jared Brossett. City officials said the higher wages will lead to increased levels of business investment, better employee training, higher worker productivity, and lower employee absenteeism and turnover.
“If you work full time, you should be paid a living wage, especially when that work is being completed on behalf of the residents of New Orleans. By signing the living wage ordinance into law, we are unequivocally stating that paychecks should reflect the work performed,” Mayor Landrieu said. “Pathways to prosperity can only be realized if jobs are good jobs that pay a good wage. That is why we increased the minimum wage for City employees last year and that is why I am proud to sign the living wage ordinance into law today. Our workers will now be able to better support their families and provide them with more economic security. As we continue to make New Orleans the city we’ve always dreamed of, we cannot and will not leave anyone behind, and we will continue our aggressive efforts to close the income gap and create equity for all New Orleanians.”
District D Councilmember Jared Brossett said, "I am proud that my colleagues joined me to pass the Living Wage Ordinance. As a steward of both public funds and the public trust, I will not condone our taxpayer money going to the perpetuation of poverty. This is the greatest city in the richest nation on earth. The term "working poor" does not belong in our vocabulary. This is a great stride for economic justice and opportunity.”
City Council President Jason Williams said, “New Orleans has a number of quality of life issues plaguing her. Poverty and not adequately paying people for a hard day’s work is a root cause to most of them. This ordinance is the first step to addressing this issue.”
District A Councilmember Susan G. Guidry said, “Expanding economic opportunity in our city requires that we lead by example. Improving compensation for those who work under city contracts and on projects receiving public money is a meaningful step toward improving quality of life for our workers, and I am proud to support this ordinance.”
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “The City of New Orleans has taken major steps to improving the quality of life for its residents, from protecting citizens from unhealthy work environments to increasing wages for City Hall employees and city-contracted workers. I applaud my colleagues and Mayor Landrieu for putting these issues on the table and moving them forward.”
District E Councilmember James Austin Gray II, said, “This is a step in the right direction. The term ‘working poor’ is one that we should retire as soon as possible. If you work every day, you have the right to be able to feed, clothe and educate your children without living in poverty.”
This ordinance will apply to contractors with $25,000 or more in annual City contracts as well as recipients of City financial assistance of $100,000 or more over any 12-month period.
On January 1 of each year, the "Living Wage" will be adjusted in accordance with the consumer price index, but will never be adjusted downward. Employers that pay their lowest paid employee 30 percent above the required living wage will be exempt from the sick leave requirement.
The ordinance will go into effect January 1, 2016.
Ashleigh Gardere, senior advisor to Mayor Landrieu for economic opportunity, said, “Today is yet another step toward our shared goal of creating pathways to prosperity for every New Orleanian. Providing a living wage is crucial to the health of our families and the future of this city. I am proud of the work we have done – and continue to do – to improve the quality of life for the people of New Orleans.”
Robert “Tiger” Hammond, president of Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO, said, “It is a great day for the City of New Orleans. The Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO applauds City Council member Jared Brossett, the sponsor, and the entire City Council for the passage of the Living Wage Ordinance. We also acknowledge Mayor Mitch Landrieu for raising all city employees’ wages to $10.10 last year. It is long overdue for New Orleans to join other cities and states across the country, who have passed Living Wage Ordinances. This is certainly a positive move in the right direction as thousands of working families in New Orleans will benefit from this action.”
Erika McConduit-Diggs, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, said, “The most disheartening trend amongst all our post-Katrina gains is the widening wealth gap between African Americans and Whites in New Orleans. Measures like the Living Wage Ordinance are important steps in creating pathways to the middle class. All members of our community deserve to earn benefits and wages that allow them to provide for themselves, their families, and productively contribute to society.”
Julie Schwam Harris, advocacy chair of the Independent Women’s Organization and co-chair of the Legislative Agenda for Woman, said, “The Independent Women’s Organization and the Legislative Agenda for Women coalition applaud the Mayor and City Council for taking an important step toward economic security for working people with the “Living Wage Ordinance. It will improve the quality of life for many deserving workers. We ask the Mayor and City Council to continue their efforts through the City’s Legislative Agenda. We pledge to continue working with them and other advocates so all Louisiana workers will someday make what they need and deserve – a true living wage.”
Latoya Lewis, organizer with Stand with Dignity, said, “City Council took a historic step towards making Black Workers Matter in New Orleans on August 6 by passing the Living Wage Ordinance. We are excited that our city government, including the Mayor, is taking the lead to make Black Workers Matter and we will continue to press for Black Workers to Matter across New Orleans in every workplace. Our communities live in the midst of a Black jobs crisis and we won’t stop until we have full and fair employment for all Black workers! This includes saving wages, local hire, ban the box, career ladders, safe working conditions, and an equitable reconstruction of our city.”
Erika Zucker, policy advocate with the Workplace Justice Project, said, “The Living Wage Ordinance is a good first step for the workers of New Orleans. Thanks and congratulations to Councilmember Jared Brossett for leading this effort, for the Council's unanimous and eloquently stated support, and to Mayor Landrieu for signing this measure into law. We hope that this initial effort will move all employers in New Orleans to pay living wages and treat all workers with respect.”
Dr. Silas Lee, sociologist, said, “To have a progressive New Orleans, we need this ordinance to achieve horizontal equity --- whereby, all persons in the same circumstances and performing similar jobs are compensated and treated equally.”