Statement from SEIU Local 1021 on Minimum Wage and Low Wage Worker Benefits

SEIU Local 1021 welcomes the voice of Mayor Ed Lee to a growing chorus of those committed to raising San Francisco’s minimum wage.

“The real cost of living in San Francisco is out of reach for far too many people who work in the City,” said Alysabeth Alexander, SEIU Local 1021 Vice President of Politics. “San Francisco’s current minimum wage of $10.55/hour has not kept pace with the skyrocketing cost of housing and healthcare in the City.”

San Francisco has always been a leader on low wage worker issues. San Franciscans voted in the highest minimum wage in the country and were the first to require employers to pay earned sick time to their workers. City leaders enacted living wage legislation for City contractors and took a major step toward universal healthcare with Healthy San Francisco and its employer mandate. San Francisco should continue to lead the county by recommitting ourselves to the principles of a fair wage for a day’s work and healthcare for all.

SEIU has made income inequality and low-wage worker issues our top priority across the county. Earlier this year, we joined with workers at fast food restaurants in the “Fight for Fifteen,” demanding $15/hour for their work and the right to form a union. We have supported efforts to raise the state and federal minimum wages. And we have been a leader expanding healthcare access in San Francisco, California, and across the country.

We believe that a $15/hour minimum wage would be just for those working in San Francisco.

Any increase to the minimum wage needs to preserve annual increases to correct for inflation and should also give the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor the ability to increase the minimum wage beyond this amount if finding a compelling need to do so.

While an increase in the minimum wage requires a vote of the people, the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors could pass legislation now to improve San Francisco’s living wage that is both too low and unequal. Currently, the living wage for City contractors is $12.44/hour for for-profits but only $11.03/hour for non-profits. Non-profit workers face the same challenges making ends meet in San Francisco as workers at for-profit contractors and deserve equity. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s living wage is several dollars lower than other living wages in the Bay Area.

“If Mayor Ed Lee believes that the City’s minimum wage should be raised as high as $15/hour, I would hope that he would act to pay at least that amount to those who are doing critical work in communities on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco,” said Lacey Johnson, a crisis intervention counselor at Progress Foundation.


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