Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors
Press Release

Milwaukee County Supervisors David F. Bowen and Khalif Rainey Criticize County Executive on Veto of Living Wage Ordinance

“I urge my colleagues on the County Board to override this veto. The working poor are depending on people of conscience to help lift them out of poverty.”

By - Feb 14th, 2014 12:06 pm

Milwaukee County Supervisors David F. Bowen and Khalif Rainey said today that the County Executive’s veto of a living wage ordinance is “a slap in the face of the working poor in Milwaukee County.”

The Milwaukee County Board passed a living wage ordinance that sets a wage of $11.32 an hour by a veto-proof majority of 12-6 on February 6. The County living wage measure affects employees of companies which have contracts with the County. The current minimum wage is $7.50.

Bowen said the County Executive was, according to the Government Accountability Board, “busy lobbying the Legislature for an Assembly bill to kill living wage ordinances across the State because he does not have the courage to sign the Milwaukee County living wage ordinance.

“The County Executive has not been listening to the people,” Bowen said. “By vetoing this ordinance he is doing everything possible to prevent the working poor from getting a living wage, and not only has he vetoed the ordinance, he is lobbying for a state law prohibiting municipalities from establishing living wages.”

Rainey said that any delay in establishing a living wage in Milwaukee County hurts the working poor. “The time for a living wage is now,” Rainey said. “Too many people in Milwaukee County are working full-time and still living in poverty. This becomes a drag on the economy as these people come to rely on County social services. What we need is a living wage to put money in the pockets of the working poor so they can lift themselves out of poverty and help the local economy.”

Bowen, who authored the living wage ordinance with Rainey as lead co-sponsor, said the County Executive should lobby for policies that create good family-supporting job, not on taking money out of working people’s pockets.

“Many of those who testified before the Board’s Finance, Personnel and Audit Committee spoke in favor of the living wage because they know how important it is to workers, their families and our local economy,” Bowen said. “But the County Executive has chosen to ignore them.

“I urge my colleagues on the County Board to override this veto. The working poor are depending on people of conscience to help lift them out of poverty.”

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