The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

County waits on minimum wage


Employers in Johnson County may now set their minimum wage starting at $7.25, which, for some employees, may be hard to live with following a period of a mandated $10.10 minimum wage.Currently, Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan said, the county is not taking any action against the state for usurping the power for local governments to set minimum wages, but the supervisors would certainly assist anyone who tried to take a stand against the change. However, he said, the county is not going to sue as it had previously considered.

“Our county attorney is fairly certain we don’t have a standing,” Sullivan said.

Johnson County Supervisor Mike Carberry said the supervisors will keep all options open; to sue, there would have to be an injured party. However, he said, employees could potentially sue the state for financial damages if they suddenly can no longer live on their wages.

Jenna Gathercole, an employee of Mondo’s Saloon and Z’Mariks in Iowa City, said she sees why employers would not continue with a wage of $10.10.

“I understand why [employers] would lower it,” she said. “It’s business.”

At Mondo’s, she said, the minimum wage has been lowered but not to the $7.25 level. The wage of $10.10 is currently still in place at Z’Mariks, and it does not sound as if it will be lowered, she said.

Gathercole said that while she sees the reason for the state to mandate a minimum wage, counties should be able to change the wage if they please.

County supervisors are not doing anything formal to try to change the state’s mind, Sullivan said, but the supervisors individually, as well as other local groups, are trying to encourage employers to keep a higher wage. The Center for Worker Justice compiled a list of 100 businesses keeping their minimum wage at $10.10, Sullivan said.

“Lots of business are happy to stay closer to a livable wage,” Carberry said.

Some businesses may cut a dollar or two from the $10.10 minimum wage, Carberry said, but most likely will not lower the wage to $7.25 because it is the right thing to do.

“Nobody can survive on $7.25,” he said. “Those are poverty wages.”

The advisory committee on minimum wage will stay together to continue to monitor and discuss the wage, Carberry said. So far, he said, the committee has looked at data from the effects of the wage, and there has been no indication having a higher wage harmed businesses in any way.

Keeping the minimum wage higher than $7.25 is critical, Sullivan said. Johnson County has high housing costs, he said, and thousands of families don’t always know where their next meal is coming from.

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About the Contributor
Kayli Reese
Kayli Reese, Managing Editor
Email: [email protected] Kayli Reese is the Managing Editor at The Daily Iowan. This is her fourth year at the University of Iowa and working for the DI. She worked as a news reporter her freshman year and the first semester of sophomore year, covering crime and courts. She has previous experience as a digital producer and news editor, and has interned at the Dubuque Telegraph Herald and Cedar Rapids Gazette.