Progressive publication “The Nation” recently spotlighted Emeryville’s six-month old, highest in the nation Minimum Wage Ordinance in an article titled “This Is What $15 an Hour Looks Like”. The Piece tells the perspectives of three Emeryville low-wage earners working for big corporations within the city and how their lives were positively impacted. The article also identifies Emeryville as a “testing ground of sorts” and notes the $15 model as “an experiment that is still playing out.” An experiment predicated on which businesses will remain viable and the overall net impact on jobs when the MWO reaches $16 in 2019.
Meanwhile, Governor Brown shed some reality on what he referred to as “a noble goal” at a recent budget press conference but urged caution and noted the expense to the state. “Raise the minimum wage too much and you put a lot of poor people out of work. There won’t be a lot of jobs. It’s a matter of balance,” supporting what most economists and Business leaders attest that there is in fact a trade-off.
“It’s not a free good. It does cost funds.” noting that when the state recently moved to $10, it came at a cost of $250 million annually. Brown noted that a $15 wage would come at a 4 Billion cost to the General Fund. “It has to take into account what other programs can be cut to finance it”. Some programs that rely on government assistance have been made vulnerable by a combination of cuts and rapid wage increases including programs for the disabled. This KQED story cites sudden labor increases like Emeryville’s responsible for the temporary closure of The Arc which offer programs and services for people with developmental disabilities.
The City of Emeryville pursued the highest, fastest, most quickly escalated and least researched minimum wage increase this country has ever seen. Emeryville is effectively serving as a guinea pig for other municipalities that want to pursue a $15 minimum wage and have attracted the interest of national publications including CNN and The LA Times among others.
Did Brown put a stake through the heart of a $15 minimum wage?
By Allen Young
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday made his most pointed arguments to date against raising California’s minimum wage beyond the hourly $10 floor that took effect this month.
“Raise the minimum wage too much and you put a lot of poor people out of work. There won’t be a lot of jobs. It’s a matter of balance,” the governor told reporters while unveiling his proposed 2016-17 spending plan.
Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday that he’s opposed to lifting the state’s minimum wage to $15: “Raise the minimum wage too much and you put a lot of poor people out of work.”
The governor also noted that the most recent $10 minimum wage increase cost the state $250 million due to higher operating costs for businesses and higher wages for certain state workers. A $15 minimum wage would cost the state general fund an additional $4 billion annually by 2021, the administration wrote in a state budget summary released Thursday
The comments arrive as two divisions of the Service Employees International Union prepare for two separate initiatives placing a $15 minimum wage on the November ballot.
Read More on Sacramento Business Journal →
This Is What $15 an Hour Looks Like
In July, Emeryville, California, passed the highest city-wide minimum wage in the country. Here’s how workers’ lives changed—and didn’t.
By Gabriel Thompson/Illustration: Sho Watanabe
As the gears of federal government have ground to a halt, a new energy has been rocking the foundations of our urban centers. From Atlanta to Seattle and points in between, cities have begun seizing the initiative, transforming themselves into laboratories for progressive innovation. Income inequality, affordable housing, climate change, sustainable development, public health, participatory government—cities are tackling them all, bringing new urgency to some of the most vital questions of the day. Welcome to the age of big city progressivism! Cities Rising is The Nation’s contribution to the conversation.
On a crisp November morning in Oakland, 50 people dressed in red T-shirts burst into a McDonald’s, bringing breakfast orders to a halt. From behind the counter, several cashiers gaped at the scene, where an orderly line of customers had been replaced by a rowdy crew that bounced and shouted, calling for the restaurant to raise its wages to $15 an hour. A supervisor whipped out her cell phone and began filming. The chant, directed at the workers, grew louder: “Come on out—we’ve got your back!” After giving it some thought, three female employees walked past their supervisor, clocked out, and joined the protesters. The crowd erupted in cheers.
Read more on TheNation.com →
Minimum wage boost hangs over California budget negotiations
By Jeremy B. White
They haven’t yet acquired enough signatures to go before voters, but ballot initiatives to bump California’s minimum wage to $15 figured into early discussions of the state budget proposal unveiled Thursday.
Organized labor groups across the country have focused their energy on the push for a $15 wage, and union outfits in California are gathering signatures to place different initiatives on the 2016 ballot.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal predicted the $15 level would cost the state more than $4 billion by 2021 and open deficits, mainly to cover increases to in-home health care workers and those who work with developmentally disabled people. He called raising the wage “a noble goal” but said any increase must happen incrementally and contain “off-ramps in case the economy is experiencing a recession.” A bill Brown signed bumping the wage to its current $10 level has already cost California more than $250 million annually, his budget plan said.
“I think raising the minimum wage can be good, but it has to be done very carefully, and it has to be done over time,” Brown said at a press conference. “It has to take into account recessions. It has to take into account what other programs can be cut to finance it, or what taxes are going to be generated to pay for it, so it’s not a free good. It does cost funds.”
Read more on SacBee.com →
Developmentally Disabled People Face Losing Access to Services as Closures Hit
By Melissa Hellmann
Surrounded by stacks of packages in a brightly lit room, Michael Palone gingerly folded a box and taped it shut. His eyes averted, he shuffled to the front of the warehouse to retrieve scissors, skirting by people and tables in his path.
Palone, 26, has mild autism, originally diagnosed as Asperger’s syndrome. The condition makes it nearly impossible for him to socialize with others and adjust to the constant changes of a full time job. Instead, he assembles packages with about 40 others at a Union City work center run by The Arc of Alameda County.
‘If he doesn’t keep going to this program, all of the progress that he’s made over the past two years will just be gone in two weeks.’
Rosemary Palone, mother of 26-year-old son with autism
The Arc is a national nonprofit with local chapters across the country, including 21 in California, that offer programs and services for people with developmental disabilities. “It means a lot to me,” Palone says. “It gets me out of the house, and it helps me interact with people.”
Read more on KQED.org →