74 percent Support Proposed Ballot Measure Raising Minimum Wage to $12.25 for All Richmond Workers and Providing Paid Sick Days
(RICHMOND)—A poll of 400 registered voters in Richmond has found strong support among the community to strengthen Richmond’s minimum wage law. 74% of likely voters support a proposed ballot measure to raise Richmond’s minimum wage to $12.25 and provide paid sick days to all Richmond workers. This proposal would bring Richmond in line with standards in other Bay Area cities. 60% of likely voters say they would “definitely” support this ballot measure.
The poll, conducted by David Binder Research, is the first to take an in-depth look at the issue for Richmond voters. The margin of error is +/- 4.9%.
Richmond politicians recently passed one of the most confusing minimum wage laws in the state. It includes several loopholes, such as exempting employees at small business and failing to provide paid sick days.
A signature gathering effort to qualify the stronger minimum wage for the ballot is underway. Once qualified, the Richmond City Council can adopt the measure into law or call for an election early in 2015.
“Richmond’s current laws exempt many employers from a real increase in the minimum wage,” said Gary Jimenez, Vice President of SEIU1021. “More money in people’s pockets will help local businesses, and we will all be helped if workers can win paid sick days. People overwhelmingly want to raise the minimum wage, and Richmond deserves the chance to vote on whether to do so.”
Richmond voters were critical of provisions in the measure as written by the politicians. 45 % were more likely to oppose, and only 23 % were more likely to support the existing wage, when told it exempts employers with fewer than approximately 10 employees.
By contrast, Richmond voters were strongly supportive of many of the reasons for expanding the minimum wage:
• 80% agreed that, a single parent who works full time for minimum wage shouldn’t have to live on a poverty level income.
• 79% thought it was compelling to put more money in the pockets of Richmond workers who support local businesses.
• 79% also were supportive of the measure’s provision of earned sick time.
The upcoming Richmond ballot measure calls for raising the minimum wage to $12.25 early in 2015, and for providing cost-of-living increases and paid sick days. This matches the regional standard for minimum wage increases proposed by a broad coalition of community members and workers in other cities such as San Francisco and Berkeley. SEIU 1021 is also part of the LiftUp Oakland coalition that recently turned in more than 33,000 signatures to qualify a ballot measure in Oakland.
“We must raise the minimum wage because it is the right thing to do, and can lift thousands and thousands of people out of poverty,” said Larry Bradshaw, Vice-President of SEIU 1021. “In Richmond, just like in Oakland and San Francisco and everywhere, the Chamber of Commerce has been pushing loopholes and carve-outs. We will fight them wherever they try to block or weaken raising the minimum wage.”