• All city of Memphis employees to make more than $15 minimum wage

    By: Jim Spiewak

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - What was once an idea on paper will now be official as early as next month.  

    420 city employees are about to get a raise to an hourly rate that is more than twice the state and federal minimum wage average.  

    “I think it's real nice, real good,” said taxpayer Clifford Joseph.  


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    The raise comes thanks to a resolution that passed the budget committee to give every city employee a base minimum wage of $15.50 an hour.  

    Council found the $1 million needed to fund the extra salaries by making small cuts to other departments.

    No tax increase is necessary either, even though taxpayer, Clifford Joseph, said he would be okay with if needed.  

    “It would be worth it to me, I think they deserve it. They out there working hard in this hot, sun, rain, sleet, snow,” said Clifford.  

    Mayor Jim Strickland’s budget proposal allocated $1.4 million to bring some employee salaries up to industry standards.  

    The rest of that money will go to the minimum wage increase, which is an idea first thought up by Councilman Edmund Ford Jr. who said, “If we want to talk about living wage we have to do more than talk we have to actually do something.”  

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    The money will also cover something called compression.  

    That will ensure supervisors make more than the employees they oversee.  

    “Let’s say that I’m your boss, you're the subordinate. I'm making $15 now, you're making $12 now, well according to this resolution if I just did a flat $15.50 you and I would be making the same salaries,” Ford adds.  

    RELATED: How many employees make $15 or more an hour at Memphis' 25 largest employers?

    The budget is expected to be voted on and passed next week.  

    The raises would go into effect on July 1, 2018.  

    Councilman Ford will make a resolution next week to get all part time workers to $15.50 an hour.  

    He says that would cost about $6 million but says the time to start that debate should start now for possibly a year or two down the road. 

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