SANTA FE – It’s early, but a movement to increase the minimum wage throughout Santa Fe County may be picking up steam.
Organizers with Working America, a nonprofit affiliate of organized labor’s AFL-CIO, and local advocates of the city of Santa Fe’s “living wage” law are circulating a petition in support of raising the county’s minimum wage to the city’s level of $10.51 an hour with annual cost of living adjustments.
Proponents of a higher minimum wage are also talking about the issue with local residents, business owners and others.
Ultimately, they plan to take the petition and their case to the Santa Fe County Commission, which could then decide what action, if any, to take.
Carol Baumgartel, a consultant with Working America and a longtime Santa Fe resident who is helping lead the effort, cautioned that organizers are, for the moment, just trying to gauge public support for the issue. But she said reaction to the petition, started about a week ago and not yet online, has been positive.
It’s past time for a higher wage in Santa Fe County, she said. The state’s childhood poverty and hunger levels are among the highest in the country, “which has to be directly related to what people earn, what their parents earn,” Baumgartel said.
Minimum-wage employees in the city of Santa Fe currently earn $10.51 an hour, the second-highest such wage in the country behind San Francisco. Minimum-wage workers in the county make $7.50 an hour, the rate mandated by state law....