Raise Up Cleveland, a group backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), reportedly gathered 28,000 signatures – significantly more than the 5,000 required to place a proposal on the November ballot. Cleveland City Council must now consider an ordinance that would require employers of 25 or more employees to pay $15 per hour minimum wage for those employees working within Cleveland’s city limits. City Council has 60 days to hold hearings on the ordinance and 30 days to hold a vote on whether to pass the ordinance as proposed, reject it completely, or pass an amended version. Proponents may place the original proposal before the voters in November if it is revised or rejected, which is a likely scenario.
Even so, the fate of the ordinance is unclear. While Ohio’s Constitution provides great freedom to local municipalities to pass laws that are an exercise of the police power, which includes those to guard the public morals, safety, health, and to promote the public convenience and the common good, Ohio courts have limited their ability to enact laws that conflict with Ohio’s minimum wage statute. This opinion is not shared by all legal minds, so we anticipate a battle. Therefore, the Council is building a large and diverse opposition coalition to challenge this proposal. Cleveland businesses interested in joining our efforts should contact Holly@ohioretailmerchants.com or 614.221.7833.
Our friends at the Vorys Law Firm have detailed the specifics of the Cleveland ordinance in a client alert which you can read HERE.
It should be noted that the Council has noticed a trend towards increased substantive lawmaking at the local level. We have heard that Columbus and Cincinnati are contemplating introduction of minimum wage ordinances, in addition to other adverse proposals elsewhere throughout the state. Know that the Council is working hard to protect your interests at all levels of state government.