Editorial: Mayor's decision to up wage for city workers doesn't feel right, and here's why

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - No one would argue that every worker, no matter what the job, deserves to make a decent living. That's why a lot of states, including Ohio, set minimum wage standards to improve the lives of low income workers.

Locally, Mayor Frank Jackson has opposed raising the minimum wage in Cleveland to $15 an hour unless it's done on a state-wide basis, and that makes total sense. The mayor says that singling Cleveland out would put the city at a competitive disadvantage and force employers to lay off people just to offset the rising labor costs.

That's why a recent decision made by the mayor has us shaking our heads: Mayor Jackson announced plans to boost the minimum pay for city of Cleveland employees to, you guessed it, $15 an hour.

Now, the move will sweeten the paychecks of 500 city workers, but it comes with a price, costing taxpayers nearly $2 million a year -- and possibly putting some existing city jobs at risk.

The mayor needs to look at Seattle, where a $15 wage was introduced several years ago. A recently-released study shows the increase has hurt workers city-wide, forcing employers to lay off staff or reduce hours to stay in business.

Mayor Jackson's generous move may be a bonanza for hundreds of city workers, but it's a bad deal for taxpayers. It just doesn't look right for the leader of the city to say he can't support a wage for every worker in the city but then give that exact same wage to the people he hires, making a wall where there doesn't need to be one.

Cut to the chase: either the $15 minimum wage is good for employees or it's not good for them, regardless if they work for the city or in the city.

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