One Million California Workers in Line as Momentum Builds for Minimum Wage
More than 192,000 workers in San Francisco and Oakland are the real winners as Bay Area voters overwhelming approved raises in the Minimum Wage today. Proposition J in San Francisco is currently leading with 72% and Measure FF in Oakland is leading with 79%.
The victory of these two initiatives—each originally filed by a coalition of SEIU 1021, community-based organizations, and fellow labor unions—will give momentum to the national, statewide and regional efforts to raise the minimum wage.
The Bay Area initiatives will benefit 190,000 workers, and add nearly $500 million in consumer spending power to the local economy, according to research by the UC Berkeley Center on Labor and Employment Research. Prop J raises San Francisco’s Minimum Wage to $15 in 2018, and Measure FF raises Oakland’s Minimum Wage to $12.25 in 2015, each indexed to inflation. More than half of workers of color will get a raise.
“Raising the Minimum Wage is just one step in fighting economic inequality, but it is an amazing step,” said Gary Jimenez, SEIU 1021 East Bay Vice President. “Times are difficult for so many families, wages are flat or falling, and it feels like many of us haven’t recovered from the Great Recession. Raising the Minimum Wage gives people hope that things can become better and they can live with dignity.”
“We need a broader economic rights movement. That means fast food workers win a union and decent conditions. It means raising the minimum wage, strengthening public services, and making big businesses pay their fair share,” added Roxanne Sanchez, President of SEIU 1021.
A total of nearly one million California workers are in line to win wage increases, including the 190,000 in the Bay Area. Another 70,000 workers in San Diego would benefit if a 2016 referendum wins, and 567,000 workers in Los Angeles would from a proposal by Mayor Garcetti. (A City Council version is not yet analyzed.)
SEIU 1021 will continue working with community groups in Berkeley and Richmond for a 2016 ballot measures to raise the wage to $15, and with dozens of other Bay Area cities considering raising their wage.
The proponent of Measure FF is Lift Up Oakland (www.LiftUpOakland.org) and the proponent of Proposition J is the Campaign for a Fair Economy (www.RaiseUpSF.org).
SEIU Local 1021 represents over 54,000 community service employees throughout Northern California.