ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The mayor wants to raise the minimum wage for city of Albuquerque workers to $15.00. His office says it’s about fair wages and tackling the city’s worker shortage.

Mayor Tim Keller’s office says it didn’t have anyone available to talk Thursday but city councilor Pat Davis backs the idea – pointing to research that shows $15.00 is essentially a living wage in Albuquerque. He says, “What we realized is we have a few hundred employees who make less than $15 an hour. Lots of folks, like some of our transit drivers for example, lots of our laborers in the parks department and folks that are one on one interacting with people every day in city hall.”

Right now, the minimum wage in Albuquerque is $11.50 an hour. With many employers competing for workers and paying more – the city is dealing with a staffing shortage. With more than 500 vacancies. The pay hike will also cause a ripple effect.

Councilor Davis goes on to say, “With more than 6,000 employees, it’s not quite as easy to say well we just want to raise a few people’s salaries because when we raise people on the bottom, there are people above them who might be due a raise as well because they’re supervisors, for example. [It] might need to be raised if their salaries don’t keep up.”

The city will do a compensation study to figure out how pay raises, starting from the bottom up. The $15.00 an hour minimum goes into effect over the next year starting July 1. It will also apply to seasonal and part-time workers. A lot of those 500 or so vacancies are in public safety, positions that already pay more than $15.00 an hour.