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Monroe County to Bump Hourly Minimum to $15

Staff report

Monroe County will raise the minimum wage to $15 as of Jan. 1, 2022

“Many of our dedicated Monroe County employees didn’t have the option of working from home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello at a news conference May 17 to announce the new wage.

“Their job, and our community, depended on them showing up to work every day. But many of these employees are also some of our lowest earnings, making less than $15 an hour. I’m committed to ending this disparity because I recognize the value of the people behind the jobs that keep our community moving forward.”

Nearly 600 Monroe County employees make less than $15 an hour. Their departments include Monroe Community Hospital, parks, environmental services, human services, human resources, public health, public safety, information services, transportation and the Frederick Douglass – Greater Rochester International Airport.

“Essential and front-line CSEA workers make up a majority of those who would benefit most from a $15 minimum wage,” said Jim D’Amico, president of CSEA Monroe County Local 828. “Low wages hurt all workers and are particularly harmful to Black workers and other workers of color, especially women of color, who make up a disproportionate share of county employees who are acutely underpaid. CSEA believes a minimum wage should be a living wage. …”

The Black and Asian Democratic Caucus and Democratic legislator Vince Felder issued a statement in support of the Bello’s announcement:

“We have long held that everybody should be able to make a living wage,” said Black and Asian Democratic Caucus Leader Ernest Flagler-Mitchell. “The county executive’s plan to provide $15 per hour to Monroe County employees is a great first step to getting every resident of Monroe County to a level of compensation that allows them to provide for their families, but there is still more room to grow.”

The caucus said it hoped more municipalities would raise the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour.

Felder has been aligning with the Black and Asian Democratic Caucus.

This past Jan. 1, wages for more than 300 CSEA employees in Monroe County, primarily in food service, building maintenance and laundry service, rose to the state minimum of $12.50 an hour.