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Big Win for Workers: $15 Minimum Wage Bill Passes Unanimously

Today, the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to raise the minimum wage to $15. I was proud to be the sponsor of this bill, which will reduce poverty for low-wage workers in the county and improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of workers and their families.

I led the fight to pass this bill for the same reason I led the fight to pass Montgomery County’s last minimum wage increase: I believe that everybody who goes home after a hard day’s work should have enough resources to provide for their families. I am particularly passionate about this issue because I saw the effects poverty wages have on children firsthand throughout my career as a teacher.

The bill, as amended, will raise the minimum wage to $15 in 2021 at businesses with over 50 employees, in 2023 at businesses with between 11 and 50 employees, and in 2024 at remaining businesses. In future years, the minimum wage will rise along with the cost of living.

I would have preferred a faster phase-in of the wage to $15 in 2020 for all workers. But I listened to concerns from small businesses and other organizations and compromised on the phase-in speed to ensure that the bill would pass. I am proud to have brokered a deal that will help so many residents in the years to come, and I hope to continue building the coalitions necessary to make other wins for residents possible as your next County Executive.

Thank you to all my fellow Councilmembers for voting for this bill, and to our current Executive for signing it. Thank you to all of the advocates who helped me make the case for a living wage, and to everyone who has called, written, or even just had a conversation in support of this minimum wage increase. Most importantly, thank you to the workers who are at the heart of this effort. This victory is yours more than anyone else’s, and you deserve it.

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