Chairwoman Dimitrijevic, Supervisor Rainey Applaud Passage of Minimum Wage Referendum Measure
Increases in Minimum Wage Part of a National Trend, Referendum Seeks Local Input
Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Supervisor Khalif Rainey today applauded the Board’s approval of a resolution calling for a referendum question on the November, 2014 ballot asking if voters support increasing the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
The vote to approve was 13-4.
“Milwaukee County has taken real steps this year to raise the standard of living for hard-working families who simply cannot make it on the current minimum wage,” said Dimitrijevic, a co-sponsor of the resolution. “Milwaukee County’s adoption of a living wage was a start.”
Dimitrijevic and Rainey said raising the minimum wage is part of a national trend that shows consistently high support for a minimum wage hike. Dimitrijevic noted that other major cities in the United States already have increased the minimum wage, including Seattle ($15), San Francisco, ($10.74), Santa Fe, NM ($10.66) and San Jose ($10.15) and the City of Milwaukee ($10.10.) “Now it’s time to give the people of Milwaukee County a chance to weigh in on raising wages of working families,” said Dimitrijevic and Rainey.
“Why hold a referendum?” Rainey said. “Because the Legislature hasn’t been listening. Because the largest County in Wisconsin can tell legislators that it is time to act, that increasing the minimum wage has the support of a majority of voters. I believe Milwaukee County voters will support increasing the minimum wage, and that support will get the attention of legislators.”
Rainey said a referendum is an important tool in reaching legislators with public sentiment on a key issue. “This is a chance for Milwaukee County residents to send a message to Madison that they want to move forward with a higher minimum wage to lift all working families,” he said.
Rainey and Dimitrijevic also pointed out that Milwaukee County already has established a “living wage” of $11.33 for workers who are employed by companies that do business with the County. The living wage measure does not apply to other employers in Milwaukee County.