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Eau Claire County Passes Living Wage Ordinance

Contractors Working For County Must Pay $11.69 Per Hour

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Eau Claire County is the latest in Wisconsin to mandate contractors pay employees a living wage.

The Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors debated the issue for nearly five hours during a meeting that stretched into the early morning. In the end, the vote was 18-11 to require companies and nonprofits doing work for the county to pay at least $11.68 per hour starting next year.

Supervisor Nick Smiar authored the ordinance and argued it was about treating workers with respect.

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“This ordinance as it’s presented to you is the right thing to do. There’s not only a financial dimension to this, there’s a moral dimension to this,” said Smair.

But critics of the ordinance like Jahn Bradley, of the Augusta Area Home, a nursing facility near Eau Claire argued, they can’t afford to increase their minimum wage and they’ll likely have to cut services. Bradley said they may stop providing meals on wheels.

“If this were put through it would increase our cost $90,000 per year,” he said.

Eau Claire County’s living wage rule will go into effect next year. Milwaukee and Dane counties have passed similar ordinances.

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