At the Tuesday April 7th Minimum Wage Study Session, a coalition of Emeryville Small Businesses and Residents pleaded with Council to factor them into the conversation of how best to implement a sensible compromise that would help employees without damaging and discouraging small businesses in our city. Council made some concessions but did not ultimately address many of the primary concerns of Small Businesses, and instead opted to go with their own recommendations. The first reading of Council’s proposed draft ordinance, which is now available online [PDF], will be read in Council Chambers at the Tuesday May 5th 7:15 Council meeting.
Some members of this coalition consisting of some of Emeryville’s favorite establishments are advocating that residents, employees and small business owners voice their opinion through a community petition on something that will impact all of us. A petition asking for Council to go back to staff’s initial recommendation of performing a study to better understand the impacts of the highest minimum wage increase in the nation … on the East Bay’s smallest city. Impacts on not only Small Businesses, but on residents, youth employment … and the minimum wage earners themselves.
Minimum Wage Community Impact Study Petition
City of Emeryville Businesses, Residents & Employees,
Your City Council is proposing a minimum wage increase in our city that is historically unprecedented. Regardless of where you align in this debate, we believe it is just good public policy and better civic transparency to study the issue thoroughly before enacting anything, and to understand the impacts on small business, residents and workers. Impacts that by Emeryville staff’s own admission in their 2/17 Staff report are unknown because this has never been done before, especially in a city as unique as Emeryville. Everyone will be impacted in some way and we feel Council has an obligation to discern and disclose these impacts. We think the City deserves and are hereby requesting that the City of Emeryville perform a Community Impact Study to ascertain:
- The impacts on costs for goods & services on residents including fixed-income seniors & low-wage earners.
- The impacts on youth employment, unskilled workers, the unemployed and non-profit organizations
- The impacts on the levels of employment and viability of businesses themselves.
Emeryville is Unique
Emeryville is the smallest city in the East Bay at only 1.1 square miles with 10,000 residents and a daytime workforce population estimated to be three times this. We’re also surrounded by communities that would be at lower wage scales than us theoretically putting us our businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Any previous research or study does not take our unique character into account.
Emeryville is Smart
Emeryville thinks before it acts. We thoroughly study the impact of our policies on everything from bike boulevard traffic calming to major developments. We are progressive and practical. The financial well-being of our entire community demands thoughtful action.
Emeryville wants to see its community members succeed. We care about those in poverty, our youth, our workers, our artists, our non-profits, our seniors, our homeowners, our families and the small businesses who are our friends and our neighbors. We care about maintaining and growing our vibrant community. To turn our good intentions into good results, we need to think ahead, think carefully, and understand the consequences of our actions prior to implementing them.
While not everyone will agree on the details of a local increase to the minimum wage, we can all agree on one thing. We should never act in ignorance, with undue haste, or without giving an issue the time and thought it deserves. The minimum wage is important. Let’s treat it that way. Councilmembers are not economists nor traditional business owners and we feel the data on minimum wage impacts should be objective and left to professionals. Ultimately we think it’s more important to get it right … than to “Make History”.
For these reasons, we, the undersigned, hereby urge the City Council of Emeryville to:
- Commission a thorough non-partisan study that addresses the full impact of its proposed minimum wage ordinance on the community and the local economy.
- Embrace community involvement and transparency by scheduling opportunity for public comment on the results of this study prior to any final vote.
- Act with due consideration by providing at least six months for affected parties to plan and implement any required changes.
We, the undersigned, with respect to any ordinance which modifies the minimum wage, urge the Honorable Mayor Atkin and the City Council of Emeryville to fulfill their obligation of due diligence. We want to strongly urge them to listen to the advise of the professionals that they rely on and do what is right for our city. If the City decides to forgo any Impact Study, we think accountability measures should be integrated into the ordinance that measure the eventual impacts of Council’s vote including annual evaluations to go with their recommended yearly increases/CPI adjustments.