- Michael Marks
- SEIU members rally at City Hall in June to increase wages for city employees.
Update: Friday, July 31, 2015, 3:50 p.m.:
This story has been updated with comments from Buddy Villejo, SEIU Texas vice president of public sector.
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San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley announced recommendations today to raise the minimum wage for all city employees to $13 per hour starting next fiscal year.
“We have proposed a minimum of $13 per hour entry wage in the FY 2016 Proposed Budget, and if the City Council adopts it, it will be effective Jan. 1,” Sculley said in a news release.
The increase is a victory advocacy groups such as the COPS/Metro Alliance, which has lobbied the City of San Antonio to increase minimum wages for its workers for over a year.
Robert Cruz, a COPS/Metro leader, said he was “elated” when he heard of the wage increase.
“It was because of our concerted effort. We’ve communicated with all the council members, and I think Mayor [Ivy] Taylor saw that the budget would sustain the rate increase,” Cruz told the San Antonio Current. “Everything came together. We’ve been very methodical, we’ve been very patient and we’ve been very persistent.”
COPS/Metro representatives will meet with Sculley next week to discuss other concerns with the budget, which will be presented to the City Council on Thursday, Aug. 6.
The group will continue to push for additional one dollar wage bumps over the next two years to bring the minimum wage for city employees up to $15 per hour.
That’s the amount that another group, Service Employees International Union Texas, has pushed for. SEIU members rallied at City Hall this afternoon as part of the effort.
Over 3,000 city employees — roughly 40 percent of its total workforce — earn less than $15 per hour, according to SEIU.
"We've been joining together with residents to advocate for the kind of jobs and services our communities need to thrive. While we were not expecting to have such an immediate response, we are happy to see the city is listening," Buddy Villejo, SEIU Texas vice president of public sector, said in a statement to the Current. "People who work hard should be paid enough to live a decent life. That’s why the Fight for $15 movement is gaining momentum in cities across the country and here in Texas. It’s encouraging to see the city take this step forward."
The wage increase could bring city employees in line with Bexar County employees. The Bexar County Commissioners’ Court agreed in June to look into raising pay for County employees to $13 per hour.
“If you're willing to pay them a decent a wage, it's easier to find good talent," Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said to the Current in June.