The small city of about 20,000 residents sits less than 10 miles south of Portland and joins Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, which already voted to raise the minimum wage to $15. Last month, the University of Washington announced it was raising its wage floor to $15 an hour, following a similar move by the University of California system in July.
In Milwaukie, the resolution means all city employees – full-time, part-time, seasonal, full-time independent contractors, and interns – are ensured of earning at least $15 an hour, according to materials released by the City Council.
The push to raise the minimum wage has gained momentum around the country in recent years, as income inequality has widened and income growth has stalled for many employees earning lower wages.
“I think it sends a message to other cities…that it’s the fair and right thing to do. A $15 minimum wage will help a lot of families make ends meet,” Darlene Huntress, executive director of Oregon Action, a group working on economic, social and racial justice issues, said.
To support a family of two – one parent and a child – the parent would have to earn a living wage of $23.11 an hour in Clackamas County, Oregon, where Milwaukie sits, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator.