Press Releases

Standing Up for Minimum Wage: Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin to Join Bernie Sanders Official for Joint Press Conference

PRESS RELEASE                                                                          Thursday, February 18, 2016

Contact: Brittany Sharp

Phone: 205-721-5369

brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin will hold a joint press conference today with Larry Cohen, Chairman of Labor for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, to discuss the importance of Birmingham’s minimum wage ordinance, and the move by Alabama’s Republican-controlled Legislature to block the increase. The press conference will be held at Railroad Park, 1600 1st Avenue in Birmingham at 1 pm.

“It is downright disingenuous that the same Legislature that will gleefully give millions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives to big business would not support or even demand a living wage for the employees these same businesses depend on to make their big profits,” said President Austin. “Families are suffering and the current minimum wage keeps many of them poverty stricken. This is a fight that I will not give up on easily.”

The minimum wage increase in Birmingham could benefit up to 40,000 workers, or nearly 20 percent of our city’s population. On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a bill to block cities from setting local minimum wages and to roll back Birmingham’s planned increase to $10.10 per hour. Legislators approved the GOP-backed bill in a 71-31 vote. The bill will now make its way to the Senate for debate.

Cohen, the top labor advisor for the Sanders campaign and the immediate past president of the Communications Workers of America says he values the boldness of Councilor Austin and other members of the Birmingham City Council who have been steadfast in their efforts to establish an increased minimum wage in Birmingham.

“The labor movement would not have its reputation if it were not for Birmingham’s contributions during the industrial era and the miles of train rails and coalmines are symbols of those times,” Cohen said. “However, ordinary people need access to good jobs and training programs that can positively influence the local economy, and it is my hope that the efforts that are being done locally by the Birmingham City Council will not be stopped.”

For more information, please contact Birmingham City Council Director of Public Information Brittany Sharp at (205) 721-5369 or brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov.