Phoenix raises minimum wage to $15 per hour for city employees

Jessica Boehm, Arizona Republic
Published 6:35 p.m. MT April 3, 2019

Proposition 206 was approved by 58 percent of Arizona voters in November. It raised the minimum wage from $8.05 an hour to $10 an hour on Jan. 1 and to $12 in 2020. (Photo: Getty Images)

Employees working minimum-wage jobs for the city of Phoenix soon can expect to make more than their counterparts outside the city.

The Phoenix City Council voted Wednesday to increase the city employee minimum wage to $15 per hour, $4 more than the current state minimum wage.

The increase was approved unanimously.

According to the city, about 150 full-time employees make less than $15 per hour. Increasing their pay to the new minimum will cost the city about $525,000 annually.

"It's going to make a big difference, a difference for their families," Councilman Michael Nowakowski said.

Examples of city positions that currently make less than $15 per hour include security guards, library clerks, police records clerks, youth counselors, police aides, solid-waste workers and groundskeepers.

Jennifer Grondahl, who represents the Laborers' International Union of North America Local 777 union, thanked the city for the increase.

"That's going to change people's lives," Grondahl said.

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State minimum wage to increase, too

In 2016, state voters approved Proposition 206, which began a series of stepped increases of the state's minimum wage.

That proposition boosted the state's minimum to $10 in 2017 from $8.05 an hour in 2016, followed by an increase to $10.50 in 2018 and $11 in 2019. The fourth hike will take the minimum wage to $12 an hour in 2020.

The Arizona Legislature is considering a bill that would allow employers to pay student workers less than the state-mandated minimum wage.

Councilwoman Vania Guevara said that while the state is looking to peel away wage protections, she was proud that Phoenix was moving in the opposite direction.

"It's really great to see Phoenix lead by example," Guevara said.

What do you think about the minimum wage increase? Reach the reporter at 480-694-1823 or Follow her on Twitter @jboehm_NEWS.