CLEVELAND - Mayor Frank Jackson is a longtime supporter of better pay for the working poor. As Cleveland City Council President, he lobbied and passed a city plan to pay a "living wage" of $10/hour.
The idea was for Cleveland's plan to spread to the county, other cities and statewide. But that never happened.
Now he is coming out against a proposal from the group Raise Up Cleveland, that would hike Cleveland's minimum wage to $15/hour starting next year.
"I'm in support of increasing it if it's a national mandate or a state mandate. I'm not supportive of a minimum wage for the City of Cleveland that puts us at a disadvantage," he told WKYC's Tom Beres.
City Council begins hearings on the group's proposal Monday.
It can adopt, change or reject the proposal. The group has the option of putting the issue on the November ballot if it's dissatisfied with Council's action.
The group is said to be contemplating possible similar measures in Columbus and Cincinnati and perhaps in the statewide 2018 election.
SEIU, the union behind the plan, claims it shows 77 percent of Cleveland voters would vote for the measure now before council to help Cleveland's working poor.
Just before 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jackson issued a formal statement:
“I continue to support a minimum wage increase if mandated by the state or federal government and not just for the City of Cleveland. For the full economic impact this has to be a united effort throughout Ohio and the United States.”
Other unions have yet to be heard from.
Business critics call it the "most aggressive'" minimum wage plan before any American city and claim it would hurt businesses and the workers it's supposed to help.