At their March 15, 2010 meeting, the Ann Arbor city councilmembers heard an update from city administrator Roger Fraser during his regular report to them: The staffing of temporary positions administered by Manpower, a temporary staffing agency, would be be brought back in-house.
And two months later, attached to the city council’s May 3, 2010 agenda was a communication about Health and Human Services guidelines for poverty levels – there was no change this year. That means there’s no change to the minimum compensation required under the city’s living wage ordinance.
How does the living wage ordinance relate to the approximately 35-40 temporary employees who are transitioning from Manpower to the city’s payroll? It doesn’t. The city itself is not required to pay its own workers at the level stipulated by the living wage ordinance – it applies to outside contractors with the city, like Manpower.
But the majority (with some exceptions) of the transitioned workers won’t see a drop in their wages – and that’s viewed as a positive outcome by the city. On the other hand, there’s no health insurance benefits through the city for those workers – Manpower had offered a health insurance option. And a hoped-for increase in temporary workers’ wages – a move supported by some city supervisors – did not materialize, foundering on an overall budget climate that made talk of wage cuts easier than a discussion of increases.
The recent move away from the use of Manpower as an agency to staff temporary city positions provides a good excuse to review the living wage ordinance itself, and its less-than-obvious connection to the upcoming Ann Arbor Summer Festival and to the city’s recycling program. In the case of the recycling program, the city is spending several hundred thousand dollars over a 10-year period to ensure that workers for a private company operating the city’s materials recovery facility are paid in compliance with the living wage ordinance.