On March 11, the city of San Jose implemented its voter approved minimum wage hike to $10 with indexing. San Diego local elected officials are expected to hold public hearings later this year on the issue of mandatory wage hikes for their region.
The Los Angeles mayoral election on Tuesday between Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Gruel. The exchanges between the two campaigns have been increasingly contentious as the general election date nears. The issue of “living” and minimum wage mandates was thrust onto center stage as both candidates debated the issue and responded to labor activist’s calls for a $15 wage. Whatever happens in next Tuesday’s mayoral election, it’s clear that labor activists will continue the push for a local wage mandate.
In California’s Central Valley, a special primary election has been called May 21 for a state Senate seat where one of the leading candidates, Leticia Perez, has made raising the minimum wage a central pillar of her campaign platform. Perez has made this a key issue in her race, boasting a heavy presence with television political ads featuring promises for mandatory wage increases if she is elected.
Meanwhile, the City of Berkeley has directed staff to look into developing a local ordinance that would be modeled after the City of San Francisco. San Francisco has a $10.55 minimum wage that is indexed to inflation and has been on a steady upward trend for years, even during one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression.
At the very north end of the state, the city of Eureka voted to allow a citizen’s initiative to proceed to the ballot that would ask voters in November 2014 to approve a City minimum wage of $12 that is also tied to indexing.
Earlier in the year, President Barack Obama called for a hike in the nation’s minimum wage during his State of the Union speech. As local communities continue to discuss (and push forward in some cases) minimum wage hikes, and Federal officials continue to debate the issue in Washington, D.C., activists have become much more aggressive in California both at the local and state level.
AB 10 (Alejo) sits before the Assembly Appropriations committee and will be decided on during a hearing on May 24th. The California Restaurant Association is leading the opposition to the measure again this year. The measure would increase the minimum wage by $1.25 over three years and then put annual wage increases on auto-pilot. If enacted, the new law would become effective Jan. 1, 2014, the same day that the federal healthcare mandate would fall onto employers.