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Miami Beach, Fla. — At a May 4, 2016, press conference, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine announced his intention to introduce key legislation at the May 11 City Commission meeting to establish a new minimum living wage of $13.31 across the city. A 2016 SEIU Florida study proves that low wages cost taxpayers $11.4 billion in public assistance every year, with Miami Beach renters, in particular, spending more than 57% of their income on housing costs. With this new legislation, Mayor Levine is leading the charge in helping underpaid Miami Beach workers make ends meet for themselves and their families.
“We applaud Mayor Levine for showing real leadership on an issue that for so many means the difference between buying food or paying rent,” said Monica Russo, president of SEIU Florida and 1199 SEIU executive vice president. “Florida continues to see growing costs without higher wages, and this disparity poses a real threat to Florida’s economy. It’s time to show that communities in Florida are ready to lead on this issue, and we are proud to stand with Mayor Levine as Miami Beach paves the way.”
“Every day as a homecare worker in Miami Beach, I take care of others in need,” said Antoinette Quintyne, a homecare worker since 2005. “But I’m in need, too. I work more than 120 hours a week to try to make ends meet, and it’s still not enough to take care of my family and me. Thank you, Mayor Levine, for supporting a living wage for Miami Beach workers like me.”
While year after year, Tallahassee has refused to enact legislation to provide a living wage to all Florida residents, communities like Miami Beach are taking up the cause. Florida voters have already made it clear that they want their communities to have a say in what they’re paid, with more than 70% of Floridians voting in 2004 to enshrine in the state constitution the power of municipalities to provide for a higher minimum wage than the state. SEIU Florida is urging leaders in cities and counties across the state to follow Mayor Levine’s example and demand a living wage for their community.
SEIU Florida represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees and property service workers in the state of Florida. SEIU members provide vital public services in Florida’s hospitals, nursing homes, public schools, community colleges, municipal and county governments, malls, and universities. With over 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America.