Skip navigation

Mayor Hancock Unveils Proposal for $15/Hour City Employee and Contractor Minimum Wage

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock, joined by Councilwoman Robin Kniech and representatives from UNITE HERE and SEIU Local 105, today announced a $15 per hour minimum wage proposal for city employees and many contractors.

“Wage stagnation is one of the most fundamental equity issues facing workers in our city and across the country today,” Mayor Hancock said. “This proposal will make a meaningful difference in people’s lives and create an opportunity for a brighter future. My mother raised my nine brothers and sisters and I on a public employee’s wage, so the hardships many of our city employees and contract workers face is all too real to me. This is a step we can take as a city to ensure all our residents have equitable access to opportunity in Denver.”

Fair wages are central to ensuring Denver remains inclusive and affordable for everyone. Implementing a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2021 for city, contractor and subcontractor employees is a natural extension of Mayor Hancock’s Equity Platform. As one of the region’s largest employers, the City and County of Denver is committed to consistent and equitable pay practices to attract, motivate and retain top talent in a highly competitive employment market.

Councilwoman Kniech, who participated in the development of the City Employee and Contractor Minimum Wage proposal, said, “I am proud our city is leading the way in aligning our values with the way we pay our workers. I applaud Mayor Hancock and his team, Denver International Airport, UNITE HERE, SEIU Local 105 and the workers for all coming together to create a way forward in which the workers can help share in Denver’s prosperity.”

The proposal would increase hourly wages for city employees and covered city contract and subcontract workers to $13 on July 1, 2019, $14 on July 1, 2020 and $15 on July 1, 2021. Starting on July 1, 2022, the minimum wage would increase annually based on the Denver/Aurora/Lakewood Consumer Price Index. The proposal will mean a pay raise for nearly 1,900 city employees and thousands of workers employed through an estimated 300 contracts with the City and County of Denver.

“A $15 minimum wage will change my life. I won’t have to choose between buying groceries or paying rent. By raising our wages, Mayor Hancock and Denver City Council will lift up thousands of families in our community,” said Amelton Archelus, a United Airlines catering worker who has worked at Denver International Airport for 19 years and is a member of UNITE HERE.

“We take great pride in our work at the airport ensuring passengers can get where they need to go safely and on time. Many of us must work multiple jobs to make ends meet for our families,” said DEN passenger service agent Mengistu Sewore, who is organizing with SEIU Local 105. “This increase in our pay means we will have time to be with our families and not sleeping on benches at the airport in between our jobs.”

The City Employee and Contractor Minimum Wage proposal will first be heard for an informational briefing by City Council’s Finance & Governance Committee on Feb. 19.

For additional details about the ordinance, please reference the attached City Employee and Contractor Minimum Wage proposal fact sheet.