ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Ken Welch announced Thursday that all city employees will earn at least $15 an hour beginning April 1.
St. Petersburg City Council approved a $15 minimum wage for all full-time employees in 2015, and for part-time employees who had worked for the city for at least five years. Those working less than five years were exempt from the policy.
According to a news release, the policy change will affect 211 city employees and will cost the city $218,000 in this year’s budget.
In a statement, Welch said his decision expedites a new state law gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, which voters approved in 2020.
“Everyone deserves to earn a living wage, whether they’ve been on the job for five years or five days,” he said. “St. Petersburg led the way in 2015 to provide a $15 minimum wage and it is time we extend that to all employees, regardless of tenure.”
Aaron Dietrich, communications services coordinator for SEIU Florida Public Services Union, the city workers’ union, said union members fought hard for a $15 minimum wage through bargaining as far back as 2012.
“We are happy to see our part-time brothers and sisters treated with the equity they deserve around pay,” he said. “This is an encouraging step as we continue to work for full union representation rights for these workers as well.”
Dietrich pointed out that part-time workers do not have the right to the grievance process if they are disciplined. It’s an issue the union hopes to solve through bargaining negotiations.
“They are treated as second-tier employees,” he said.