City Council Approves Trailblazing 14.5% Living Wage Increase & More

Austin, Texas - Austin Interfaith, an organization of 37 congregations, schools, unions and non-profits, plans to celebrate the adoption of a ground-breaking budget at a press conference Friday, Sept. 11th at 12:20pm in the Media Room of City Hall alongside supportive City of Austin Council members.

This year, Councilmembers prioritized workers, families and children in its budget.  Not only did councilmembers  approve an unprecedented living wage increase of 14.5%, from $11.39 to $13.03 per hour, they extended that increase to part-time temporary workers after 80 Austin Interfaith leaders lined up to demand they do so.  Says Bob Batlan of Temple Beth Shalom, "we cautioned the council that limiting the living wage to full time employees, as originally proposed, would  encourage out-sourcing, reduce city authority over its workers and ultimately result in lower wages across the city."  Council heard the call of Austin Interfaith and included contingency workers in the new wage package.  This makes Austin the first city in Texas to extend living wage standards to its part-time, temporary AND contracted workers.

This living wage increase will also apply to private employees of companies receiving taxpayer funded incentives.  Healthcare benefits will additionally be made available for those who have worked for the City at least 12 months.  

Other Austin Interfaith asks that made it in the budget include $350K for long-term job training provided by Capital IDEA, $684K for AISD parent support specialists, half a million for Primetime after-school programming, $357K to continue extended library hours this year, $1.6 Million to increase the tax exemption for seniors and disabled homeowners, funding for healthy food incentives and $1.65 Million added funds for parks, pools and recreational centers.  

Says Wildlflower Church leader Kurt Cadena-Mitchell, "Austin Interfaith applauds those City Council members who were our budget champions.  Mayor Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Tovo, Councilmembers Casar, Garza, Kitchen and Poole found creative ways to fund Austin Interfaith priorities for the benefit of the city as a whole!"  

 Council members Casar, Kitchen and Pool have confirmed their participation today at 12:20pm.    

Austin Interfaith is a non-partisan, multi-ethnic, multi-issue organization of 37 congregations, public schools, and unions who work together to address public issues that affect the well being of families and neighborhoods in our community.