New Orleans city workers to get $15 per hour starting Jan. 1

Louisiana

Mayor LaToya Cantrell, August 2020

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a $15-per-hour minimum wage for city workers, starting Jan. 1.

“Our work is not done, but this is a big win,” Councilmember Jared C. Brossett, who proposed the increase in July, said in a news release.

The $15 minimum apparently will be Louisiana’s first.

“I am not aware of another political jurisdiction in Louisiana that has done the same,” said Jan Moller, executive director of the nonprofit Louisiana Budget Project.

“NOLA is the first that I know of,” though minimum wage measures aren’t something the Louisiana Municipal Association tracks for its members, said executive counsel Karen White.

Shreveport is considering a $13 minimum, she noted.

The legislature regularly shoots down minimum wage proposals, leaving Louisiana at the federal rate, currently $7.25 an hour. President Joe Biden wants to increase that to $15 by 2025, and in April signed an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay that much.

Louisiana is one of five states without a minimum wage law, Moller said.

The New Orleans City Council voted in July to have the Civil Service Commission draw up a plan for the raise. Thursday’s action approved that plan.

The current minimum is $11.19, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported.

The commission did not say how much its plan would cost, but it appears similar to an August proposal that would cost about $10 million, the newspaper reported.

“Let me be clear. $15 an hour is not enough, but it’s a start,” said Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer. “It’s not only for city workers. It’s going to be for people who contract with the city, and we’re going to expand from there.”

An ordinance approved in July requires city contractors to pay their employees at least $15 an hour by 2023.

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