Doctoral student Blake Scott Ball’s “A brief history of Mountain Brook picking on Birmingham” appears in today’s edition of al.com‘s Opinion section.
“Making a decent wage in Alabama in 2016 is hard enough. With an unemployment rate higher than the national average to start the new year, many working class Alabamians are anxious about whether their hard work will pay enough to bring a brighter future. But that battle looks bleak when establishing a competitive wage means facing down 75 years’ of local history.
This week Birmingham Mayor William Bell signed an ordinance to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 from the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Almost immediately, however, state Rep. David Faulkner of neighboring Mountain Brook filed a bill to thwart the increase. That bill was signed into law by Gov. Bentley yesterday. Faulkner argued that in order to maintain a healthy business climate Alabama needed to enforce a single statewide minimum wage. But for Birmingham, that really means holding the federal minimum since Alabama has not established one of its own.”