Many city workers in Atlanta will see a minimum-wage increase after the City Council voted on Wednesday, June 21, on an amendment to the new 2018 budget.
The move raises the minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 per hour over the next two fiscal years, starting with an increase to $13 per hour in fiscal year 2018, beginning on July 1. The Atlanta City Council voted on the measure as part of several compensation actions affecting firefighters, police officers and other salaried workers as part of the recently approved $2.1 billion city budget, which passed unanimously.
The increase will come from the city’s general fund, according to the city.
“With this action, we are demonstrating that the City of Atlanta offers competitive employment at all levels, and respects the dignity of all workers,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement.
“I am also pleased to raise the starting salary for our firefighters, who set the standard for professional fire departments in our state.”
The minimum-wage increase will affect about 360 employees immediately and more than 850 employees once the full increase is phased in, the city said. The city collaborated on the issue with Atlanta Jobs with Justice, a local nonprofit.
“It is critical on this day that we show the nation that the South is committed to progress, workers and living wages,”Atlanta Jobs with Justice Executive Director Shannan Reaze said.
The city said it also will spend $2 million in general-fund dollars to establish a three-tier payment structure for firefighters and new recruits within the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, bringing the starting salary for recruits to $40,000 annually.
The city also approved a $5,000 one-time bonus for new hires to the fire and police department with prior military service and honorable discharge or continued active service through the reserves.
Additionally, city employees in all departments at Grades 19 and above who make less than $150,000 per year will receive a 3-percent salary increase.
“Today, we sent a strong message to all of our employees that their hard work is appreciated,” council President Ceasar Mitchell told Atlanta station WXIA-TV.