Raising the Wage in Fayette County: What You Need to Know to Get Involved

Posted by: Beth Howard on April 10, 2015

The Central Kentucky Chapter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth wants Fayette County to raise the wage! CKY KFTC supports a Lexington Fayette Urban County Government ordinance to raise the minimum wage in Lexington to $10.10 per hour over a period of three years. Right now, the ordinance is in the Budget, Finance, and Economic Development Committee of the Lexington Fayette County Government. The next hearing is set for Tuesday, June 23rd at 1 p.m. at Council Chambers located at 200 E. Main Street. Supporters will rally before the meeting at 11 a.m. at the Courthouse Square in Lexington and walk to the meeting together. However, KFTC members, some members of the LFUCG Council, and allies are pushing for an earlier hearing and for the ordinance to be heard by the entire council by swiftly moving it out of the budget and finance committee.

CKY KFTC members are getting involved and speaking out. Jesus Gonzalez wrote an op-ed that was published in the Lexington Herald-Leader. The Op-Ed has gotten hundreds of shares online and resonated with readers all over Central Kentucky. Jesus is a tipped-wage worker and a single father who struggles to make ends meet and is actively involved in the campaign to raise the wage. “If you think anyone can survive off of $7.25 an hour, you’ve never had to. If you think anyone should work 40 hours a week and not be able to support themselves, you’ve never worked a day in your life,” he said.

CKY KFTC member Janet Tucker is co-chairing the Working Families Campaign, a coalition of community organizations and individuals who are working on raising the wage in Lexington. “It is important that the people who work in Lexington can afford to live here.  People in Lexington need to come together and oppose paying anyone poverty wages. 46% of minimum wage workers are women.  As a woman, who was a single parent making  greater than minimum wage, I know how hard it was to make ends meet.  So I know how incredibly difficult it is for those making minimum wage.  We need to ‘Raise the Wage’ here in Lexington,” Tucker said.

CKY KFTC member Sharon Murphy is speaking out about her own experience as a low-wage worker.  “I had no choice to settle for a part-time job. Even if I did receive 40 hours a week, after taxes at $9.75 an hour I would bring home just under $300 a week. I can't afford an apartment; therefore, I stay with a friend. I'm not a high school student nor am I a single a mother. I'm a college graduate with two degrees – a Bachelor and Masters.”


What the Research Shows:

The ordinance proposes to raise the minimum wage in Lexington to $10.10 per hour over a period of three years. After three years, the wage would be set to inflation. The ordinance also raises the wage for tipped-wage workers, which hasn’t been increased since 1991. The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KCEP) cites that this ordinance would directly lift the wages for an estimated 20 percent of those who work in Lexington/Fayette County, or 31,300 workers. The minimum wage increase would provide relief from stagnant or declining wages for many workers on the bottom, and is supported by an extensive body of research suggesting little to no harm to employment.

Here are some more statistics from KCEP:

  • Ninety percent of direct beneficiaries are at least 20 years old. In fact, there are more workers over the age of 50 who would benefit than there are teenagers.
  • Fifty-seven percent of workers with who would benefit directly are women.
  • Seventy-six percent of workers with family incomes below the poverty line would benefit from an increase.
  • Twenty-six percent of workers benefiting have a child in the household
  • A family with one parent and one child needs $43,368 to make ends meet, but a full-time, year-round minimum wage worker makes only $15,080
  • Tipped workers are twice as likely to fall under the poverty line as all workers, and waiters are almost three times more likely. Because of their low wages, 46 percent of tipped workers and their families rely on public assistance

Furthermore, KCEP found that “claims that increases in the minimum wage will eliminate a large number of jobs are not supported by the substantial body of research on this question. The minimum wage is one of the most extensively-studied topics in economics, and the conclusion of a vast body of evidence is that modest increases have little to no effect on employment.”

Get Involved!

Speak Out: If you are a directly-impacted person and want to speak out on this issue or get more involved, please contact CKY KFTC Chapter Organizer Beth Howard at bethhoward@kftc.org. There are a variety of ways to have your voice heard, such as speaking at the upcoming LFUCG Budget and Finance Hearing, speaking at upcoming rallies and events, writing letters to the editor, or telling your story to council members in lobby meetings.

Reach Out: The Lexington Fayette Urban County Council needs to hear from you. Calling your Council Member and letting them know you support raising the wage in Fayette County is one of the most effective things you can do. Go to www.lexingtonky.gov for your council member’s phone number. And, take a moment and email the council members at : councilmembers@lexingtonky.gov. This email address will send your email to every council member. It’s an easy, efficient way to make a big difference and to make your voice heard on this issue!

Show Up:. The Working Families Coalition is organizing a series of educational events and rallies to move this issue forward. Join us!  Large numbers of people make a big difference and show that people care about this issue. See calendar of events below.

Upcoming Dates:

  • Raise the Wage Strategy Session: Lessons From Louisville: Wednesday, April 22nd at Quaker Meeting House located at 649 Price Ave. in Lexington
  • Raise the Wage Rally: Saturday, May 16th at 11 a.m. at The Courthouse Square in Lexington
  • Raise the Wage Hearing and Rally: Lexington Fayette Urban County Council Budget and Finance Committee Meeting, Tuesday, June 23rd at 1 p.m. in Council Chambers located at 200 E. Main Street. * Rally before the meeting at 11 a.m. at the Courthouse Square in Lexington
0 comments view comments

Brooklyn sends love to the mountains

Posted by: KFTC Staff on April 10, 2015


Shelby County KFTC Year of Community-Building

Posted by: Shane Ashford on April 6, 2015

Members from the Shelby Co. KFTC chapter will be kicking off their ‘Year of Community Building” this April. Just in time for Spring and Earth Day, the first event will be a film screening and discussion of Annie Leonard’s short film “The Story of Stuff”, a film “about the way we make, use and throw away all the Stuff in our lives.” 

KFTC asks for public hearings on Stream Protection rule

Posted by: KFTC staff on March 31, 2015

KFTC has asked the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement for a series of public hearings in eastern Kentucky concerning that agency’s plans to propose a new Stream Protection Rule.

The letter, sent to Robert Evans, director of OSM’s Lexington office, asks for a “formal public hearing and public education event as part of the rule outreach strategy.

“In order to assure the best participation by impacted citizens, we request that the hearing be held in the evening if possible. We also suggest that the public education outreach occur before the actual hearing so that citizens will be better informed as to the actual contents of the proposed rule,” stated the letter from Joanne Golden Hill and Mary Love, co-chairs of KFTC’s Land Reform Committee.

Big Sandy chapter hosts sixth annual Growing Appalachia conference

Posted by: Jessie Skaggs on March 30, 2015

Sharing ideas about community!On Saturday March 21, more than 80 people from around eastern Kentucky came to the sixth annual Growing Appalachia conference in Prestonsburg, which is a day of workshops about small-scale farming, energy efficiency and renewables.

Workshops were organized so that whatever scale you were working at or whatever your interest was, there was something for everyone that day. Covered topics included beginning beekeeping, learning about the cooperative business model, planning your home garden, a discussion on growing our own clean energy future in the mountains, soil building and nutrient management, do-it-yourself energy efficiency, seed saving, and more!

Madison County KFTC celebrates Pi(e) Day with 5th annual Pie Auction

Posted by: KFTC Staff on March 27, 2015

More than 60 people came out for the Madison County KFTC chapter’s 5th annual Pie Auction, and it was a rousing success, chock-full of laughter, puns, cheers for KFTC, and, of course, lots of pie! This year’s annual event was held on Saturday, March 14 at Union Church in Berea. The Pie Auction was extra special this year as it landed on Pi Day – 3.14.15, making this a once-in-a-century Pie Auction. 

Northern Kentucky Returning Citizens Forum

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on March 23, 2015

The Northern Kentucky chapter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth held a forum on March 15th raising awareness about the challenges facing former felons upon returning to their community. Member Rick Traud opened the event by welcoming the 40 people who attended, and talking about his personal expreience dealing with former felons trapped in a cycle of poverty as the result of mistakes in their past while working as a volunteer with Saint Vincent De Paul in Northern Kentucky.

Growing Appalachia on WMMT’s Mountain Talk

Posted by: Jessie Skaggs on March 19, 2015

Growing Appalachia on WMMT's Mountain TalkLast week, members of the Growing Appalachia planning committee were guests on WMMT's Mountain Talk, which is a weekly program that covers a wide range of topics pertaining to life in the mountains. Floyd County’s Sister Kathy Curtis and Letcher County’s Valerie Horn were in the studio to talk with host Elizabeth Sanders about the history of the conference, how they got involved, and what people can expect at Saturday’s conference. They were joined in the studio by Jonathan Hootman and Hillary Neff and then joined over the phone by Mark Walden.

SOKY members work toward statewide renters’ rights bill

Posted by: KFTC Staff on March 12, 2015

KFTC Southern Kentucky chapter members used the 2015 General Assembly to give their local work on renters’ rights a statewide platform.

The Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA) is a set of codified best practices to clarify the terms of agreements between tenants and landlords.

It simply clarifies and standardizes the terms of a lease and protects renters from retaliatory evictions for reporting housing that is not up to code.

Based on best practices from the rental industry, URLTA is called a “win-win” for renters and landlords. Several states have adopted URLTA statewide. Kentucky’s state law, however, only allows individual communities to opt in to URLTA; it falls short of adopting it statewide.

How$martKY offers money-saving energy efficiency improvements

Posted by: Chris Woolery on March 12, 2015

Many KFTC members who are interested in making their homes more comfortable and energy efficient are now able to make it happen!  

How$martKY is an on-bill energy efficiency financing program that doesn’t require a credit check. This means that rural electric cooperative members with high utility bills can often get energy upgrades with no down payment, add the financed payment to their electric bill, and still save money every month.  

Jefferson chapter stands with adjuncts for economic justice

Posted by: KFTC Staff on March 12, 2015

Linda Stettenbenz, a Jefferson County member who serves on KFTC’s Economic Justice Committee, reached out to Jefferson Community and Technical College professors who are involved in an international movement to demand fair treatment for adjunct professors – professors who don’t have tenure and who often work for near-poverty wages with no job security from one semester to the next. Adjuncts at several colleges and universities opted for walk-outs; JCTC organizers opted for a teach-in.


Subscribe to KFTC Blog