The minimum wage matters to real people

UPDATE (July 7): The Minimum Wage Ordinance has been recalled from the Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee and is going to the full council! There will be a council discussion session on August 20, 4 p.m. in the council chambers (200 E Main St).

Central Kentucky Chapter members are pushing forward to raise the minimum wage in Lexington, in the face of their city council members tabling the ordinance at the last Budget and Finance Committee hearing on June 23 for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.

So far, it has been a summer of KFTC members and our allies in the Working Families Coalition building momentum by rallying, lobbying, writing op-eds, and giving testimony at hearings, and the chapter has no intention of backing down.

CKY Members and allies are planning to gather this Tuesday evening, July 7, at 6 p.m. at the LFUCG Council meeting to push for the ordinance to be heard by the entire Council in August after a summer recess. 

Two rallies in Lexington have already been organized and carried out by chapter members and our allies this summer, the most recent on June 23 in Phoenix Park prior to the LFUCG Budget, Finance, and Economic Development Committee hearing. After the rally, supporters marched to the Budget and Finance Committee hearing. 

“We showcased faces and not statistics. We put directly-impacted people on the front lines”

At the Phoenix Park rally, Sharon Murphy, our new CKY Chapter Alternate for KFTC’s statewide Steering Committee and a low-wage worker, said, “We will not be silent. We have been silent for too long.” 

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes spoke in favor of raising the wage in Fayette County, and that sentiment was supported by other speakers representing the Community Action Council, the Lexington Chapter of the NAACP, the Kentucky Democratic Party, the Lexington Chapter of NOW, and CKCPJ.

“We showcased faces and not statistics. We put directly-impacted people on the front lines,” said Murphy.

Another directly impacted person is KFTC member Jesus Gonzalez, a single father who testified at the Council hearing and wrote an op-ed for the Lexington Herald-Leader that was shared hundreds of times on social media: “You have a growing child. You have to buy clothes, shoes, Christmas and birthday presents. What if your car breaks down? Can you honestly even afford a car?”

The city’s Budget and Finance Committee tabled the issue at its June 23 meeting; however, members will keep pushing until Lexington workers are paid a fair wage.

Last year, KFTC members in Louisville worked with allies there to successfully push for a minimum wage increase to $10.10/hour that was to be implemented over the next two years and benefit 45,000 workers. Members attended metro council meetings, testified, offered statements, and fueled the push to pass the ordinance.

After its passage, forces against economic justice for Kentuckians appealed the decision, preventing its implementation. However, last week a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge struck down this challenge, ordering the resolution to be upheld and to take effect immediately.

Louisville is now the first Southern city to have passed a local minimum wage increase.

“We started the conversation (for a minimum wage increase in Lexington). Now people all over Lexington are talking about it,” said Janet Tucker, a CKY KFTC member who’s been working with other chapter members and allies to push for a minimum wage increase in Lexington.

Take Action

The time for Lexington is now. Contact your local council representative and let them know you support a living wage for Lexington and Kentucky as a whole. 

When leaving a message, here are some key talking points:

  • Please support the ordinance to raise the minimum wage in Fayette County to $10.10/hour without delay.
  • Give the entire LFUCG Council an opportunity to vote on this ordinance.

  • Do not table this ordinance in committee.

  • Lexington needs a raise. According to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, 20% of the workforce in Lexington/Fayette County, or 31,300 workers, would see a direct lift from this ordinance. Rent and bills are due; will you play your part in empowering your constituents?

Also, join us at the Lexington Fayette Urban County Council meeting on Tuesday, July 7 at 6 p.m. The Council meeting will be held in Council Chambers at 201 E. Main Street in downtown Lexington. Your voice and presence makes a difference! 

Kentuckians of all income levels deserve the opportunity to live their lives free of the worry of where their next meal is coming from, if they can make rent, or if they can afford childcare.

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