Minimum wage Proposition 206 on Tucson ballot

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 6:24 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Javier Flores is a 38 year old husband and father who works for a small printing company called the Gloo factory in South Tucson.

It’s not his only job.

“I’m a screen printer Monday through Friday and I’m a cook at a buffet restaurant Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “I love my jobs.”

Flores is like thousands of other low wage workers in Tucson who must work two jobs to pay the bills and still it’s a struggle.

“It’s always a struggle,” he said.

Flores is the target of Proposition 206, the $15 minimum wage initiative which will raise the minimum wage above the state’s $12.15 per hour.

Proposition 206 will appear on the Tucson 2021 city ballot which has already been delivered to thousands of homes.

Even though there are three city council races, Prop 206 is gathering the most attention.

Opponents believe the timing of the initiative is not right as the country tries to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We already have a state minimum wage,” said Carlo Ruiz, owner of HT Metals in Tucson. “So there’s no need for Tucson to set itself apart from the rest of Arizona.”

He also believes that the country already has a labor shortage and this will just make it worse.

We have “small business, large business competing for employees right now,” he said. “I don’t think it’s needed at all.”

But the framers of the proposition disagree and believe the higher minimum wage will give workers more dignity and more leverage over the workplace.

“If people are making a living wage, that’s one less thing you have to negotiate, you have the leverage now to bargain some other things than just wages,” said Clinton Boyd, the campaign manager for the proposition. “You can talk about health care, you can talk about other benefits.”

Attorney Billy Peard is one of the authors of the proposition which is modeled to a certain degree after the 50 or so other communities which have already passed a minimum wage bill but he added some other things which sets it apart.

It’s the first in the country to offer certain employee protections.

“It as a provision for larger employers requiring them to give ample notice of schedules ahead of time so a worker who

shows up for a scheduled work shift and it’s cancelled at the last minute would be compensated for their time in coming to work,” Peard said.

There are other protections to keep employers from cutting hours or employees forcing those left behind to pick up the slack.

Tucson fight for $15 says it has more than 100 small businesses which support 206.

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