Management & Labor

In Rare Move, D.C. Metro Area Officials Collaborate to Raise Minimum Wage

The minimum wage for nearly half the Washington region would jump 40 to 60 percent over the next three years under a rare effort announced Wednesday by D.C. and Maryland officials to work together to pass similar, if not identical, minimum wage increases by the end of the year.
October 10, 2013

The minimum wage for nearly half the Washington region would jump 40 to 60 percent over the next three years under a rare effort announced Wednesday by D.C. and Maryland officials to work together to pass similar, if not identical, minimum wage increases by the end of the year.

If the triad of legislative efforts succeeds, it would ensure an hourly salary of $11.50 in the District and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties by 2016.

Lawmakers who unveiled the coordinated plan said it would begin to bridge a growing economic gap in the region, which has the nation’s highest median income, at $88,000, even as nearly one in five District residents live at or below the poverty line and the number of poor residents in suburban counties is on the rise.

By the District coordinating with Montgomery and Prince George’s, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) said, proponents in all three locales would boost their chances for success.

“This is pretty unusual,” Mendelson said. “We are standing together because so often an issue like minimum wage is argued divisively — that one jurisdiction is going to be at a competitive disadvantage with other jurisdictions. We are standing together to make a clear statement that that’s not going to be the case.”

Regionally, however, the plan also threatened to exacerbate a stark divide along the Potomac River, with lawmakers in Virginia showing no sign of raising the minimum above the federal rate of $7.25 — a wage Congress set six years ago.

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