Flagstaff Minimum Wage Initiative Signatures Filed

Support to Increase Flagstaff Minimum Wage Grows

3,652 signatures to qualify the minimum wage initiative for the ballot filedOn Wednesday, July 06, 2016, the Flagstaff Needs a Raise campaign filed 3,652 signatures to qualify a local minimum wage initiative for the November 8th ballot. This is nearly 44 percent more than a required minimum of 2,537 signatures.

Volunteers spent hundreds of hours walking every Flagstaff neighborhood. Stories of people working two-three jobs to just get by, living in substandard housing conditions, and sharing rooms were countless. Flagstaff poverty is widespread and segregated.

The initiative proposes an amendment to the City Code that would gradually raise the minimum wage from the current rate of $8.05 per hour to $15 per hour by January 1, 2021. The initiative would also raise the wages for tipped workers to the full minimum wage by January 1, 2026. The City would be responsible for enforcing the provisions of the initiative.

“If I can do it as a small business owner, then the larger companies can, too. It’s about doing what’s right,” responded Beth Heenan, owner of Village Baker in Flagstaff to the question if a higher minimum wage would be problematic for her business operation.

Vance Peterson, a local general contractor added: “I have not hired anybody for less than $15 an hour in years. Paying people decent wages makes business sense—you get more loyal employees who are not stressed out about their lives as much because they can afford living in Flagstaff and the turnover is lower. Plus more people are able to invest in home improvement projects and business revenues go up.”

Among early supporters of the initiative are organizations Friends of Flagstaff’s Future and Living United for Change in Arizona and council candidates Jim McCarthy and Adam Shimoni.