MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Workers in Miami Beach may be getting a bump in their paychecks over the next couple of years.READ MORE: New Gaming Compact Could Reshape South Florida For Years To Come
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said Wednesday he will introduce legislation at a May 11th commission meeting to establish a citywide minimum wage.
If this is adopted, Miami Beach will be the first city in Florida to do this.
“Today, we are announcing proposed legislation that addresses the growing gap between wages and the cost of living in South Florida by proposing a minimum living wage for our community,” said Mayor Levine in a statement. “We continue to hear stories from our residents who are unable to live and work in Miami Beach because of the high costs of rent, transportation and basic living costs. But today, we start addressing this growing problem through higher wages by establishing a citywide minimum living wage.”
In announcing the proposed pay increase, City Attorney Robert Rosenwald said, “The cost-of-living in Miami Beach is one of the highest in the country.”
Minimum wage is currently at $8.05 per hour as mandated by the the State of Florida’s Minimum Wage Act. The proposed legislation would gradually raise the minimum wage for all workers employed in the city to $13.31 over a period of four years.
At an Ace Hardware store on the beach, clerk Carlos Winfrey was thrilled.READ MORE: Authorities Arrest Dominican Congressman On Drug Trafficking Charges
“That would be wonderful,” Winfrey said. “Living here on the beach is like very expensive, but the raise would really help out.”
Those who work largely for tips for a living would also be guaranteed the minimum. Anything short of $13.31 an hour in tips would have to be made up by their employers.
Cesar Rosa, a waiter at an Ocean Drive restaurant, said he often doesn’t come close to $13.31. He said the proposed new minimum, “sounds perfect, sounds great.”
At a news conference announcing the mayor’s plan, homecare worker Antoinette Quintyne said working for near minimum wage has left her in dire straights.
“I work more than 100 hours a week to try to make ends meet and still it’s not enough,” she said.
Marcus Dixon with the Service Employees International Union said the effort shouldn’t stop in Miami Beach.
“It’s time to take this to the communities most affected, to counties across Florida and cities where costs keep going up while wages keep standing still,” Dixon said.MORE NEWS: Health Care Industry Gets Pass On 'Passports'
The way it would work is, the city’s minimum wage would be changed to $10.31 per hour starting in 2017. From then on, there would be an increase of $1 dollar per hour for each year – eventually reaching $13.31 by 2020. Once that happens, the city commission can reconsider each year if they need to increase the minimum wage.