FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Mayor Tom Henry’s office has begun a study to look at the wages of city workers, all 1,800 of them. It’s a preliminary move to make sure all of his employees are earning a livable wage and he’s called on other employers to do the same.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. The mayor said raising it has been on his mind for a while, but it was his trip to Washington, D.C. last week for the national conference for mayors that got the ball rolling.
“One study after another after another even those that have been done in our community, will tell you that $7.25 an hour, you can’t live on that,” Mayor Henry said.
He and other mayors across the country were a part of a seminar that looked at raising wages in their community.
“In many circles, they’re saying that $15 an hour is what’s needed to live in any community. So, $7.25 an hour even doubled is not enough.”
The mayor has asked the head of human resources for his office to begin a study of their own that looks at wages and benefits and he urged employers to do the same.
“My call out now to the employers of this community is take a look at what you’re paying your employees.”
The unemployment rate is around 4 percent in Fort Wayne, according to the mayor.
“If only a number of those are only paying $7.25 an hour, then that’s a little misleading.”
His study will look at how the city will pay for it. He’s not sure when and by how much wages will increase although other mayors around the country are hoping to raise salaries by 2020.
“In all of these groups that are looking out for regions as far as trying to attract new jobs, trying to increase our population to 1 million people to try to bring more employers and if we don’t have a solid enough base from an economic perspective, then we’re never going to reach those goals. So, we have to, it’s not a matter of if we want to, we have to.”
Mayor Henry plans on discussing the issue more in his state of the city address on February 10.