Laws about minimum wage in the United States have been a hot topic lately, and a battle over local and state laws is now taking place in Birmingham, Alabama. Alabama doesn't have its own minimum wage, so the federal wage of $7.25 an hour is used. However, the lawmakers in Birmingham felt that wasn't enough, and they've attempted to put in place a new law that will increase minimum wage over the next few years. The first step is a jump to $8.50, but the eventual goal is to get to $10.10. This is strictly a city-wide law.
Though the lawmakers in Birmingham lean more toward the liberal side of the spectrum, those at the state level are more conservative, and they're opposed to a minimum wage hike. They've moved to put in place a law saying that cities are not able to set the minimum wage, and they have to abide by state or federal laws.
Rushing the Process
When it became clear that the two sides were going to be pitted against one another, city lawmakers rush to get their tiered system started. They hoped getting this move in place before the state law became official would make it harder for the state government to overrule it. They planned to raise the pay to $8.50 in July of this year, but decided to do it in early March instead.
The state government fired back. The bill went through the House and was supposed to get to the Senate within the next week. The city government then decided to do away with the tiered system, deciding to raise pay to $10.10 before the House vote.
The drama has been incredible and there will likely be many future court battles. Some believe the state could overrule the city law, even if it is on the books before the state law. Others have complained that things can't happen this fast because it doesn't give businesses any time to adapt and change.
It is important for business owners and employees alike to keep an eye on this legal battle as wages change on many levels. Many businesses could be impacted as the number of workers who earn minimum wage in Birmingham is estimated to be around 40,000.
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