For the past three years, the California restaurant industry has led efforts to hold off any increases to the state’s minimum wage. However, this year proves how the end of the legislative session often can become very unpredictable and extremely political.
In the closing hours of the legislative session, a proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage – AB 10– became caught up in a political battle between Gov. Jerry Brown and labor unions resulting in a 25% increase to the state’s minimum wage.
Though the issue appeared to be shelved for the year, Brown suddenly became aggressively interested in addressing minimum wage with labor unions in an attempt to avoid their threat of putting the issue on the ballot in 2014.
Wednesday morning, Brown, Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez released a joint statement in strong support for a $2 minimum wage increase over 18 months.
Though California’s minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2008, it remains one of the highest in the country. Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s (D-Salinas) bill, AB 10 will raise the minimum wage in two separate $1 increments: From $8 per hour today to $9 per hour, effective July 1, 2014, and then to $10 per hour, effective Jan. 1, 2016.
Both houses of the Legislature are expected to vote on the bill by midday Friday. The California Restaurant Association is leading the opposition coalition on the ground and CRA members are encouraged to continue participating in the grassroots campaign targeting lawmakers’ offices.
Visit the CRA Action Center to send a custom letter to your representatives now.