Mayor Ed Lee seeks $15 minimum wage
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee introduced a proposed measure Tuesday that would gradually bump San Francisco’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 2018.
Lee, backed with support from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, labor unions, nonprofit groups and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, made the announcement at the Mayor’s Office in City Hall, calling the proposal “a significant boost to the city’s minimum wage.”
San Francisco has had the highest minimum wage in the country for the past decade and, under this plan, would likely keep that status.
If the measure gets voter approval in the November ballot, the city’s minimum wage would increase from $10.74 an hour to $12.25 an hour effective May 1, 2015. On July 1, 2016, the wage would increase to $13 per hour and in the next two years it would go up by one dollar until July 1, 2018, when it hits $15 an hour.
After 2015, the wage would be adjusted based on inflation. The city’s minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $11.03 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2015.
Lee had pledged to increase the minimum wage last year and reiterated his commitment to the effort at the State of the City address at the beginning of this year.
He said he spent the past six months working with small and large businesses, nonprofit organizations, labor unions, workers’ rights groups and economists, to shape a consensual proposal that puts a single measure on the ballot.
As costs go up in San Francisco, Lee said:
“working families have to work longer hours to make ends meet. … Someone who puts in a hard day’s work deserves a respectable wage.”
Lee said today’s wage “doesn’t cut it.” The state minimum wage is $8 an hour, while the federal rate is $7.25 an hour.
The Coalition for a Fair Economy, which includes members from Progressive Workers Alliance, SF Rising, the San Francisco chapter of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Unite Here Local 2 and Service Employees International Union Local 1021, crafted their own proposal in April to increase the minimum wage, but drew opposition from the Chamber of Commerce.
Under the mayor’s proposal, the coalition, along with other labor and business groups came together to present only one measure to voters, according to Lee’s office.
Supervisor Jane Kim, who led the charge with the mayor on creating the measure, said the proposed wage increase is the:
“… strongest and most progressive minimum wage proposal in the country.”
Seattle’s City Council approved an ordinance last week to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour under a seven-year phase-in plan that starts next April.
Following the mayor’s announcement at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting, Kim said this legislation is a “clear” and “pure wage proposal” compared to Seattle’s plan, which has different wage increases based on business size and type.
Supervisors Eric Mar and David Chiu also shared their support of the proposal. Chiu said:
“We are asking San Franciscans take care of our lowest wage workers.”
Mar praised Kim and Lee for their efforts to have only one minimum wage measure on the ballot:
“United we can move forward to have the strongest minimum wage policy in the country.”
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce released a statement this afternoon commending the proposal as the city grapples with an “affordability crisis” and a widening income gap. President Bob Linscheid said in a statement:
“The Chamber has long supported a consensus approach when it comes to advancing the minimum wage. … We appreciate being part of the discussion and applaud Mayor Ed Lee for bringing all groups together so that voters can evaluate one ballot measure on minimum wage come November.”
— Sasha Lekach, Bay City News