Denver mayor proposes minimum wage increase

Denverites were lukewarm to both Mayoral candidates. Photo: Taelar Pollmann · The Sentry

City Council to review proposal in November
Denver City Council holding meetings on proposal throughout October.
Photo: Taelar Pollmann · The Sentry

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Councilwoman Robin Kniech have recently unveiled a plan to increase Denver’s minimum wage to $13.80 per hour by 2020 and $15.87 per hour by 2021. This would make Denver the first city in Colorado to raise the minimum wage for all its workers. 

At a recent conference, alongside five council members, Hancock declared, “Our goal is for every one of our residents to be able to access the success and opportunity our city has experienced over the last eight years.” 

A recent poll by The Hill indicated that minimum wage increases are broadly popular across all demographic groups. The $15 proposal was supported by a majority of all age groups in the Hill-HarrisX poll. Majorities from every region of the country supported it except in the Midwest, where 48 percent backed it and 32 percent wanted an increase of a smaller amount.

According to the activist organization FightFor15, most people who work minimum wage jobs cannot afford to live comfortably if they are making under $15 an hour, and the majority of these workers are lower-middle class or live in poverty. They also note that a $15 minimum wage is already the law in states like California and New York. 

State Director Carlos Verdade of the Colorado Working Families Party supports the minimum wage increase, stating, “Housing, insurance premiums, and medical care, have gone up tremendously, but wages haven’t. A minimum wage increase would make it easier for people in working-class families to find homes, buy healthy food, and afford stable medical care for themselves and their children.” 

The Colorado Working Families website also notes that a higher wage would ensure comfortable living situations for countless workers and their families. 

The Working Families Party views the minimum wage increase as an issue that goes beyond economics, tying it to racial and gender issues as well. According to Verdade, “50 percent of the Latino community makes less than the current minimum wage, alongside 30 percent of African Americans & women.”

If this proposal goes through, about 100,000 adult workers will see a higher minimum wage increase by 2021, according to the Denver city website. Minimum wage workers throughout the Denver area will see an increase in their income regardless of their age, experience, or the company they work for. 

The council will review the proposal in November. Before the review, the City of Denver is holding a series community town hall meetings, the first of which was held on Oct. 2. Additional meetings will be held on Oct. 16, Oct. 22, and Oct. 29. 

Meeting dates, times, and locations can be found at   

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