TAKOMA PARK, Md.– Negotiations between the local Takoma Park Silver Spring CO-OP and the DC Industrial Workers of the World Union regarding a new $15 starting wage are scheduled to begin this July.
The CO-OP, a local grocery store that, “promotes healthful living by offering wholesome foods, high-quality produce and community resources in a clean, friendly and cooperative grocery store,” currently has a starting wage of $11.50 in compliance with Maryland state law.
The Maryland Minimum Wage and Overtime Law was passed earlier this year by the Maryland Council, aiming to increase the county’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.
However, the CO-OP employees are one step ahead.
“The union and COOP are working towards a $15 starting wage,” said Irene Cox, the CO-OP’s Human Resources Manager. “We have proposed this as an option to the union and we’re waiting for an agreement.”
Leila Habib wrote for the Takoma Voice last summer, “The workers of the Takoma Park Silver Spring (TPSS) CO-OP presented demands to the Board of Directors on July 21 , requesting higher wages, a $15 hourly minimum wage and unionization of the Co-op.”
The employees, if unionized, would be represented by the D.C. Industrial Workers of the World (DC IWW) in negotiations with the CO-OP Board of Directors.
According to Habib, the DC IWW said, “A raise of $3.50 [per hour] and $15 starting wage is needed immediately. The wage increase is long overdue and would bring an immense amount of relief to workers at the TPSS CO-OP.”
“The negotiations between the CO-OP and the union aren’t the only thing scheduled to begin in July,” Rachel Hardwick, the President of the CO-OP’s Board of Representatives, told the MocoCaller.
Starting July 1st, the Maryland Minimum Wage and Overtime Law increases the minimum wage to $12/hour.