Efforts are currently underway to have the city of Longmont commit to paying city workers a living wage. The Denver City Council recently unanimously approved a proposal to raise the minimum wage for city workers to $15.00 an hour. Peggy Leech with the League of Women Voters of Boulder County as well as Darcy Juday with the American Association of University Women are part of the Longmont Living Wage Coalition.
Juday says there is a difference between a living wage and a minimum wage. “We consider it a self sufficiency standard, it’s being able to live on what you’re being paid without public assistance or without assistance from nonprofit agencies, which is food banks. The bare minimum to support yourself without assistance.”
A living wage would cover housing, food, utilities, childcare and healthcare, yet leaving out insurance and others. This leads estimation for the rate being $15.67, which compares to the current $11.10 that makes the minimum wage this year. The Longmont Living Wage Coalition has met with members of City Council over the past nine months, with most members being supportive of the idea.
Living costs have been rapidly increasing particularly the cost of housing. Despite Longmont being cheaper than Boulder, there are still working people who are without homes because the housing market is too expensive for what they make.
Leech says the coalition is building with a growing support base. “It’s the League of Women Voters, A.A.U.W., The Inbetween has signed on, Immigrant Legal Center of Boulder County, Heart of Longmont Church. We’ve got people signing up to that coalition on the League’s website…so we’re collecting names every day of people that are in support of this and then we can present that to City Council and make sure that it gets included in the budget.”