Shortly after the Rhode Island House decided that working men and women should not have the right to petition their city government for fair wages and instead stripped all municipalities in the state of any power to do so, the Providence City Council in an unanimous decision, passed a measure to put the $15 minimum wage for hotel workers on the ballot for voters in the fall.
The efforts of the Providence City Council may be for naught. If the state Senate approves the budget as is, and if Governor Chafee signs the budget into law, then the citizens of Providence will not have the right to set minimum wages in their city, even if 100% of the city’s residents were to demand it.
This is called democracy, Mattiello style.
However, the measure is not dead yet, and some members of the Providence City Council seem intent on sending a signal to the General Assembly indicating that they are not going to sit back and have their ability to govern so cavalierly severed. Councillors Igliozzi and Aponte were especially vocal in pointing out that several businesses in Providence are requesting tax relief, and suggested that such relief should only be given if the businesses agree to pay their workers a living wage.