Dayton leaders support higher wages for workers

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton City Commissioners passed a resolution Wednesday asking for an increase in the federal government’s minimum wage.

The resolution will be sent to Ohio Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown and Congressman Mike Turner.

Commissioners heard Wednesday from a worker who says the wage increase would help.

Mercedez Guy says she worked hard for three years at Walmart, but never made more than $8.90 an hour.

“This meant there were times I didn’t make enough money to pay my bills,” Guy says.

Local union representatives were also at the meeting to support the resolution.

“People working very hard,”  says Clay Dixon with the Miami Valley Organizing Collaborative. “Some of them working two jobs and still can’t make ends meet in the city of Dayton.”

We took a closer look at the numbers.

Right now in Ohio, the minimum wage is $7.95 an hour. Work 40 hours a week and you make $16,536 a year.

A proposal would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. That would lead to yearly pay of $21,008.

“We know it’s the best practice for our economy and will grow America’s economy,” says Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley of the potential increase.

But others, like the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, think an increase would hurt workers and businesses.

Director of Labor and Human Resources Policy Sean Chichelli believes the higher wage would make it harder for workers to get a job in the first place and could lead to higher prices at stores.

“You’re going to see businesses much more reluctant to hire more people,” Chichelli says. “[They’re] more likely keeping the people they have.”

The city says it already provides a living wage for its workers.

Any change in the minimum wage would have to come from the state or federal government.

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