For Immediate Release
April 20, 2017
Victory Delivered With All Year-Round ACC County Workers to be Paid a Living Wage!
As of July 1, all Athens-Clarke County year-round workers will be paid a minimum hourly rate of $11.60/hour as a result of the County compensation study findings and tireless work by Athens for Everyone and other workers rights advocates. This will immediately affect approximately 85 County workers, who will see an average hourly increase of $2.38. Athens for Everyone is thrilled that ACC county workers will soon be better valued.
In September of 2015, A4E Organization Coordinator Tim Denson filed an open records request for documents showing a number of County workers were being paid under a living wage, as set by the MIT Living Wage Calculator (When this campaign was begun that rate was $10.17/hour, it is currently at $10.82) and some were being paid as low as minimum wage. This kicked off Athens for Everyone’s months-long campaign to put a policy in place guaranteeing all County workers were paid a living wage or higher. That campaign, led by former A4E Workers Rights Coordinator Drew Hooks, and alongside the Economic Justice Coalition, took the shape of petitions, rallies, viral videos, lobbying, and speeches at Commission meetings. That work led the Commission to request staff conduct a wage-study and classification project with the hope to have all county employees above a Living Wage. We are happy to see that that has happened and commend the staff and Commissioners who worked to see this through. We will continue to call for a base wage established that is tied to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, ensuring that wages for County workers will never fall below a living wage ever again.
Athens for Everyone urged adoption of a living wage policy in 2016
With a relatively low unemployment-rate but 38% poverty rate in Athens, it is pivotal for workers to be paid a living wage if we are ever seriously going to tackle poverty in Athens. Athens for Everyone hopes this victory for County Workers will be the beginning of a living wage movement in Athens and A4E will use the momentum of this victory to push for other area employers, such as the University of Georgia, to adopt similar policies. The entire community must all work together to build a movement that sees employers ensuring that their workers are valued and cared for and paid a living wage. Let’s build a Living Wage Culture in Athens!