San Francisco, Oakland Mayors Lead Campaign to Raise California’s Minimum Wage

October 6, 2015 1:45 PM EDT

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SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Appearing together at a locally owned small business, the mayors of San Francisco and Oakland announced their leadership of a statewide initiative to raise California’s minimum wage to $11 in 2017 and then gradually increase it a dollar a year until it reaches $15 in 2021.

The initiative will appear on the Nov. 8, 2016 ballot to raise the minimum wage for all California workers by $1 a year beginning in January 2017. Once the minimum wage reaches $15, it will automatically go up each year to match the cost of living. California’s minimum wage is currently $9 an hour and is set to rise to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. The initiative continues to permit cities to set higher local minimum wages if they choose.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf each supported successful local initiatives last November that raised their cities’ minimum wages. Today’s announcement took place at Rickshaw Bagworks, a San Francisco small business that designs and manufactures customizable bags in its on-site sewing factory.

“As California grows and thrives, we must make sure the prosperity is shared by everyone,” said Schaaf, who supported Oakland’s Measure FF last year that raised Oakland's minimum wage. “A gradual, uniform wage increase for the lowest-paid workers across our state is fiscally and morally responsible.”

“We’ve proven that raising the minimum wage is good for small business, good for our economy, and good for our people,” said Lee, who led San Francisco’s Proposition J campaign last year to raise the city’s minimum wage. “Now it’s time to ensure that all Californians with full-time jobs earn enough to survive in today’s economy.”

The statewide initiative is extremely popular with voters and is rapidly gathering the 366,000 signatures necessary to appear on the November 2016 ballot. California’s Field Poll recently showed that 68 percent of voters support the effort, and more than 100 community organizations and businesses have endorsed the measure over the last few weeks. The measure was submitted by the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West.

Many working Californians, including parents and seniors, have full-time jobs yet struggle to make ends meet. The minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living and is worth less today than it was 50 years ago. This loss of purchasing power means millions of Californians are unable to afford an adequate standard of living, which harms families and the state’s economy and budget. Additional facts about California’s minimum wage earners:

  • A full-time worker making the minimum wage in California earns less than $19,000 a year.
  • 3.2 million Californians – more than a third of all hourly wage earners – earn less than $15 an hour and would receive a raise from the ballot initiative.
  • 1.8 million people in California earn the minimum wage, including 200,000 who are older than 55.
  • More than half of minimum wage workers in California are women.
  • 95 percent of minimum wage workers in California are adults – at least 20-years-old – and more than half are older than 30.
  • 30 percent of minimum wage earners have children.

SCN Strategies
Dan Newman, 415-981-9940

Source: SEIU United Healthcare Workers West

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