New Orleans gives workers a 44 percent pay raise

NEW ORLEANS - A new minimum wage in New Orleans guarantees workers under city contracts a 44 percent increase in pay.

The move was the culmination of years of effort by City Councilman Jared Brossett.

Multiple news outlets report with Brossett and other council members standing by, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed into law Monday, the new living wage ordinance that guarantees all workers under future city contracts $10.55 an hour.

"Today is a great day as we reverse a trend that we won't condone poverty wages in our city," Brossett said.

The law also provides that workers under city contract will get seven days of paid sick leave each year.

"When they don't get that seven days of sick leave, they get a 30 percent increase in their wages, which goes up to 13 plus dollars," said higher wage advocate Latoya Lewis, with the group "Stand With Dignity."

The law takes effect Jan. 1 and it won't be cheap. The move will cost taxpayers about $60 million.

Landrieu said the new higher wage is an economic strategy. He says, when it comes to salaries, "a rising tide lifts all boats."