Alabama’s governor and legislature Thursday blocked Birmingham’s attempts to raise the city’s minimum wage as they swiftly approved legislation to strip cities of their ability to set hourly pay requirements.
The Alabama senate passed the legislation on a 23-11 vote that largely broke along party lines. Governor Robert Bentley signed the bill into law about an hour later. The legislation voids a Birmingham city ordinance attempting to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10, the city’s legal department said Thursday afternoon.
Alabama has no state minimum wage and uses the federal minimum of $7.25. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since July 2009. An American working full time – 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year – at that wage would earn about $15,080 a year.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, 29 states have raised their minimum wage above the federal minimum wage. There are also 23 local governments that have increased their wages – including those in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco in California, Chicago in Illinois, Portland in Maine and Seattle in Washington. Only cities have made efforts to raise their minimum wage as high as $15 an hour.