Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris on the fight for $15/hour, which he says he did pay his campaign workers

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( – Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris says he will continue to fight for a $15 an hour wage. And yes, he did pay his election workers $15 an hour.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris says there is no issue. He paid his election workers $15 an hour, and that’s that.

He says the real story is trying to get the same hourly wage for more than 300 custodial employees at the University of Memphis.

Since taking office last fall, Lee Harris has raised the pay for part-time county employees to $15 an hour. He has been involved in raising pay for elections commission workers to $15. Now, he is trying to help workers at the University of Memphis.

So, it did come as a surprise when ads from almost two years ago showed Harris was paying less than $15 an hour for his own campaign workers.

“I ran a campaign in 2017-2018,” the Mayor said, “… and I believe we paid our workers $15 an hour because we received citizen input, and that that was the important thing. So we paid them $15 an hour. It took us a few days from receiving citizen input to make that change in our ad.”

Harris says the fight to raise pay is part of a larger fight. If you want to battle poverty, the Lee Harris philosophy is simple. People deserve higher pay.

There is dignity in work, he likes to say, so pay them to achieve that dignity. And that included his workers, after he heard from some of you folks.

“Again, “he said, “… we can go over my personal and professional choices ad-nauseum. I believe I paid every campaign worker $15 an hour. And I did it because I received community input. And I did it in a few days after receiving community input.”

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