Cleveland votes down $15 minimum wage

CLEVELAND - Cleveland City Council voted down a plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour in Cleveland.

The 16-1 vote only saw Councilman Jeff Johnson vote in the affirmative to approve a minimum wage hike in the city.

This was the third reading of the ordinance.

Councilman Jeff Johnson attempted to revert back to the second reading of the ordinance, which would have allowed for a "phase-in" approach for a wage hike.

The motion failed.

"It's leaving 601 Lakeside and it's time to take it to the people," Johnson said to uproarious applause.

Johnson was referencing the Ohio Supreme Court.

Currently, allowing voters to either approve or reject a wage hike, sits before the Ohio Supreme Court.

The court might decide to let the minimum wage issue be determined in a referendum. 

Councilman Zack Reed spoke first. 

"It was democrats through the civil-rights era who said we are going to help our people... When did we, as so called democrats, turn our back on the people?" Reed said as the crowd burst into thunderous applause. "My mom, who was a single mom, always told us a bird in the hand is always better than a bird other bush. ...These individuals have waited long enough for a raise."

In the end, Reed still voted no on the proposal, joining the rest of the body.

Councilman Michael Polensek said Cleveland lawmakers should have considered a "phase-in" approach as Johnson suggested. However, Polensek reiterated a push for considering the issue at a State-level. "We see all the statistics," Polensek said. "At the end of the day $8.10 an hour is outrageous in 2016... We need to take this to the state level."

Councilman Kevin Conwell echoed Polensek's comments with some stronger rhetoric.  "8.10 cents an hour is slave labor" Polensek said.
 
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