Cleveland City Council begins debate over $15 minimum wage

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CLEVELAND –  – City Council members are considering a proposal that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the city.

Members of a union submitted petitions to force the city to address the idea.  The process began on Monday evening and will continue in committee meetings beginning Tuesday morning.

Two council members spoke in favor of the idea.  “I sympathize with the status of the minimum wage and the complete failure of the federal government to act,” said Brian Cummins.  He indicated a staggered increase would stand a better chance of council approval.

But Jeff Johnson said there is no time to wait.  He favors the increase.

A local minister named Kyle Earley also supports the hike.  He told Fox 8 News, “My desire is that all of City Council and other community leaders will get on board so that we can start the road to end poverty here in Cleveland.”

Some council members have heard from business owners saying the increase would cost jobs and maybe even businesses in the city.

Mayor Jackson released a lukewarm statement on the proposal last week, saying any increase should be mandated by the State of Ohio or the United States government.

There is no set minimum wage in Cleveland currently.  The state of Ohio minimum of $8.10 an hour governs Cleveland employers.

Backers of the proposal say if the is no positive movement from City Council, they will place the issue on the ballot for voters to decide in November.

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