Berkeley Community and Labor Activists Commend Start of City’s Higher Minimu­­m Wage

Berkeley_Oct1

Advocates Also Planning Ballot Measure for a $15 Minimum Wage

A coalition of community activists and labor groups gathered on the steps of Berkeley City Hall today to applaud the city’s raise in the minimum wage and to inform workers about their new rights.  The minimum wage will rise today to $10, part of a two year increase to $12.53.  The City Council passed the increase last summer after a proposal by the City’s Labor Commission to address the desperate needs of the city’s low-wage work force.

 The Berkeley Minimum Wage Initiative Coalition of community groups and labor organizations has also begun the initiative process to guarantee residents a chance to vote in 2016 for a strong, progressive minimum-wage law to extend the gains for the city’s low-wage workers. This will include a path to $15/hour, cost-of-living increases, and paid sick days.  None of these are in Berkeley’s current law, but they are in new two initiatives expected to be approved by voters in San Francisco and Oakland.

Berkeley’s minimum wage law is a start.  Beginning October 1, low-wage workers struggling with the problem of economic inequality will benefit from earning a raise to $10 per hour,” said SEIU 1021 leader Renita Terry who is also a member of the coalition.  “These workers, however, deserve a path to $15.  Berkeley still needs a raise.  We have a great coalition coming together to raise the minimum wage, that includes devoted community activists who fight poverty as well as members of the Berkeley Labor Commission who worked very hard on the issue, and unions throughout the region.  The public overwhelmingly supports raising the minimum wage so we are optimistic that we will be able to take this next step in the fight against economic inequality.”

Workers who want to learn more about the raises and other protections that are due to them under the new law — or want to file a complaint against an employer who’s violating the law — can call 510-981-CITY (2489) or visit www.cityofberkeley.info/MWO.

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