As Parkland Moves to Increase Minimum Wage, Clay Jenkins Pushes for Others to Join

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Clay Jenkins West Nile press conference.jpg
County Judge Clay Jenkins wants to raise the minimum wage for county contractors to $10.25.
The worst-paid workers at Dallas County's Parkland Hospital make $8.78 an hour, a buck and change more than the federal rate of $7.25. But that's still not enough to live, hospital officials said this week, so they recommended increasing the base salary of entry-level positions to $10.25 an hour. If approved by the full hospital board, the increase would affect 230 employees.

"It brings our minimum base more in line with industry standards and it helps us recruit and maintain a higher caliber of staff at all levels inside Parkland," Jim Dunn, the hospital's executive vice president, said in a press release. (Officials declined to be interviewed.)

The increase would bring the hospital in line with the rest of the Dallas County government, where full-time employees earn at least $10.25 an hour. Judge Clay Jenkins, who spearheaded the increased minimum wage in the county, told Unfair Park he was proud of Parkland and hopes others in the private sector follow suit. Ten dollars an hour is a living wage, he said, and it's difficult to raise a family on less than that.

Jenkins and District Attorney Craig Watkins recently sent a letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott. The duo wants to know if, under current laws, the county has the right to require its contractors to pay at least $10.25 an hour. Jenkins believes it does.

Raising wage floors has been a topic of discussion from coast to coast of late, as Seattle controversially increased its minimum wage to $15 an hour and the White House, stymied by Congress, took the small step of increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10.

Jenkins said he hoped to form a critical mass of area agencies and businesses willing to pay a living wage. Dallas, though, won't likely be among them.

"I don't think that's politically possible," councilman Phillip Kingston told Unfair Park on Thursday.

Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.

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If Parkland raises its minimum wage as a diversion every time it gets into a scandal on the front pages of the Dallas Morning News, then they'll be paying a minimum of $57.23 an hour by next year.

Save your drama for yo mamma, Fred.

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

DC needs to clean up their own room before they get more allowance


'and it helps us recruit and maintain a higher caliber of staff at all levels inside Parkland'


This is NOT a minimum wage issue in the economic sense. This is a free market issue.

Parkland is motivated to raise pay in order to compete in the labor MARKET. 

A minimum wage, on the other hand, is IMPOSED upon the employer through statute.

The principle minimum wage observations from economists do not apply to the scenario where an organization voluntarily raises pay in order to maintain productivity standards:

'That a large demand elasticity for low skilled workers implies a large negative employment effect of minimum wage will be large has been recognized for a long time (see e.g. Pigou, 1920and Stigler, 1946). A well-known related point is that, if the absolute value of the demand elasticity is greater than one, the minimum wage reduces the total pay to low skilled workers(see e.g. Freeman, 1996; Dolado, Felgueroso, and Jimeno, 2000'

Parkland's 'demand elasticity' is obviously low because they are raising pay voluntarily in order to 'maintain a higher caliber of staff'.

So the implication that Parkland is somehow 'getting with the program' and so should everyone else is disingenuous, to say the least.


We cannot force anything.  We can likely invoke provisions regarding employees that will have the impact of raising our costs, the employee increase plus a mark up.


But the City seems to find it politically possible to fund every development scheme and pay a lot of its other employees above industry standard.  But we outsource garbage collection so that the employees not only aren't city employees with benefits, but are paid only minimum wage.  Shameful.


@Lorlee This comment is better directed to a story about city spending. Parkland is funded at the county level.


@Tipster1908 @Lorlee I am well aware that Parkland is funded by the County.  I am responding to the direct quote by Phillip Kingston at the end of the article, perhaps you didn't read all the way through the story???

The sad thing is that we pay for that higher wage through our taxes for food stamps, housing etc. and rob people of the dignity of working for a living wage. 

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