Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) and other elected officials from her city plan Thursday to call for a higher minimum wage in Maryland, adding their voices to those trying to nudge state lawmakers on the issue.
“It’s the smart thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “When our low-income families get a hand up, all of us do a little better.”
The mayor is scheduled to appear at a morning news conference at City Hall with members of the City Council, which approved a resolution last month calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation next year that would require Maryland employers to pay significantly more than the $7.25 an hour required by federal law.
Bills to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour went nowhere during the most recent 90-day legislative session in Annapolis, in part because of resistance from retailers and other employers. But supporters — including the state’s labor unions — hope the dynamic will be different when lawmakers return in January, particularly if Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) puts his legislative muscle behind a proposal.
According to organizers, Rawlings-Blake and other Baltimore leaders will be joined Thursday by members of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, a union supportive of an increase, and Raise Maryland, a coalition pushing to tie future increases in the minimum wage to inflation.
Nineteen states and the District mandate a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum.
Supporters of raising Maryland’s minimum include all three Democratic candidates running for governor next year.