Louisville, Ky., seen on Aug. 13, 2014.
Photo by Luke Sharrett

Louisville becomes first city in South to raise minimum wage


Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday became the first city in the South to boost the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour, a move it will complete by 2017.

The lawmakers’ agreement resulted from a series of debates prior to the Louisville Metro Council meeting on Thursday night. All 16 Democrats favored raising the minimum wage, and the nine Republicans voted against it.

RELATED: Obama signs minimum wage order

Previously, Mayor Greg Fischer had said he would veto the Metro Council’s original proposal to increase the wage to $10.10 an hour over a three-year period. But after the decision on Thursday, he said he agreed to support the increase to $9 during the same time span because “it is a balanced compromised solution.”

“I’m pleased with the Council’s vote, appreciate their hard work on this important issue, and look forward to signing the ordinance into law,” Fischer, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter.

The expected change made Louisville the 12th U.S. city to raise the wage this year. Earlier this month, the Chicago City Council approved a plan to increase the Windy City’s minimum wage to $13 by 2019.

Three states – Arkansas, Georgia, and Wyoming – have minimum wage rates below the current federal level of $7.25.

During the midterm elections last month, voters in a number of red states approved measures to raise minimum wages. And fast-food workers in nearly 200 cities across the country continue to take to the streets to demand $15 an hour and union rights. In February, Obama signed an executive order to boost the wage for federal contract workers from $7.25 to at least $10.10 per hour by January 2015.