COPS / Metro Raises Wages of Lowest Paid Public Workers
San Antonio, TX -- Last month, 325 COPS / Metro Alliance leaders publicly launched their "Living Wages and Economic Security" campaign following a series of Civic Academies on Wages and Work. Mayoral candidates Mike Villarreal and Leticia Van de Putte endorsed the living wage strategy and the Bexar County Commissioners moved to raise the wages of County workers to $13 / hour in 2015. Last week, Alamo Colleges raised the minimum wage for full-time workers to $11.50 / hour. Leaders also succeeded in closing a City economic incentive policy loophole, ensuring that all corporations receiving public subsidies pay no less than $11.47 / hour. COPS / Metro will continue working with student and labor groups to organize public employees and ensure basic workers' protections.
Calling the win just "a beginning," COPS Metro leaders celebrated the $1.39 / hour raise for 49 full-time employees at the Alamo (Community) Colleges. Additionally, the lowest paid part-time and seasonal workers will see their wages rise to $10 / hour thanks to a Tuesday night approval of a "living wage" by the board of the Alamo Colleges. Leaders applauded the action, but say they look forward to wages rising along the lines of the Bexar County plan.
Bexar County Living Wage Hikes
Just days after the assembly, Judge Nelson Wolff sponsored a resolution to raise the wages of County workers to at least $13 / hour in 2015. With majority support among Bexar County Commissioners, Wolff instructed the County Manager to calculate the cost of the wage increase for a final vote mid-January. COPS / Metro sees this as the first step towards a real Living Wage of $15 / hour for County workers.
City of San Antonio Economic Incentives
Soon after, leaders succeeded in closing a loophole that allowed some corporations to skirt San Antonio's living wage ordinance for recipients of economic incentives. San Antonio city management supported COPS / Metro's proposal and city council voted to close that loophole, ensuring that only corporations paying at least $11.47 / hour can apply for any economic incentives.