Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders support a $15 an hour minimum. Hundreds of low-wage Atlanta workers, with the backing of unions, have rallied outside McDonald’s and other fast-food joints the last few years demanding higher wages.
The Employment Policies Institute, and other conservative groups, say a $15 minimum wage will lead to higher prices, layoffs and automation of jobs.
Amy Henderson, spokeswoman for the Georgia Municipal Association, said Clarkston is the first city in Georgia to mandate $15 an hour. Few Georgia cities seem likely to soon mimic the city, a diverse and progressive burg of 8,000 residents on Atlanta’s eastern edge. Council members, for example, also voted this week to decriminalize possession of marijuana — another Georgia first.
City council members achieved the $15 an hour minimum by granting the three public works employees a six percent merit pay increase. The mayor said the pay raise will cost taxpayers less than $4,000 a year. The city’s remaining 27 workers, including police officers, got a 4 percent pay increase.
“It’s a small step, but we’ve got to start somewhere,” said Terry, a vice chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia.