Tuscaloosa Considers Minimum Wage Hike, Teachers May See Salary Increase

Jan 25, 2016

Demonstrators at Tuscaloosa City Hall

Workers in the Tuscaloosa area could see their wages go up soon.

Mayor Walt Maddox and the city council plan to consider an ordinance that would hike the local minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The proposal prompted a march down University Boulevard to City Hall on Martin Luther King Day. The group called for economic justice and a higher minimum working wage.

Deidre Stalnaker is the Communications Director for the City of Tuscaloosa. She says she’s not entirely sure what impact the move will have on area businesses.

“As far as it how it would impact the city, I think that is an unknown right now. We don’t know what kind of impact that could have immediately, short term, or in the long term, but we are for having a living wage for everyone who works in the city of Tuscaloosa.”

A similar effort is underway in Huntsville. Birmingham’s City Council voted to raise its minimum wage last year.

Some of Alabama’s teachers could be seeing a pay raise soon, according to one Alabama senator.

Sen. Del Marsh recently told the Dothan Eagle there is an emerging consensus that education employees should receive a raise. However, the amount of the raise and how it should be administered has not been determined. The last time Alabama’s teachers got a raise was in 2013, the same year their contributions to retirement increased.

Educator salaries are a cause for concern among education advocates in Alabama. They argue stagnant pay will be a turn-off to people seeking a career in education.

The average pay for a teacher in Alabama is $48,720, well below the national average of $56,610. The starting salary for teachers in Alabama is $36,867.

In addition to a raise, lawmakers are considering establishing a non-tenure track for teachers. Those that opt out of tenure would see higher salaries, but less job security.

The University of Alabama football team culminated its 14 -1 season Saturday with a National Championship celebration in Tuscaloosa. APR’s MacKenzie Bates attended the event and files this report.

Fans braved the freezing temperatures as early at eight a-m on the Walk of Champions to get a spot to celebrate the Crimson Tide’s 16th National Championship. Alabama defeated Clemson 45-to-40 back on January 11th in Glendale, Arizona to win the College Football Playoff Title.

Coach Nick Saban says he could not be more proud of this team.

“And everybody helped everybody be accountable to do what they needed to so that we could improve and accomplish something of significance that will create a memory for the rest of all of our lives.”

Saban was presented his fourth championship in seven years as Alabama's head coach.