New minimum wage proposal less ambitious, has broader support

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Members of the Board of Supervisors and stakeholders in the minimum wage proposal gathered in Mayor Ed Lee's office.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

San Francisco bears the unfortunate distinction of having the fastest-growing income inequality nationwide. At the same time, the city may retain its more progressive status as having the highest nationwide minimum wage -- if voters approve a November ballot measure unveiled today by Mayor Ed Lee and 10 members of the Board of Supervisors.

The consensus measure would increase the minimum wage for all San Francisco employees to $15 an hour by 2018. Currently, the city's lowest-paid workers earn $10.74 per hour under the existing minimum wage ordinance.

The proposed increase, announced at a June 10 press conference held in Mayor Lee’s office, calls for minimum wage workers to earn $12.25 per hour by May Day of next year, followed by paycheck increases amounting to $13 an hour in 2016, $14 an hour in 2017, and $15 an hour in 2018.

Crafted by representatives from labor, business, and the nonprofit sector in conjunction with Mayor Lee and Sup. Jane Kim, this November ballot measure proposal is less ambitious than an earlier minimum wage increase floated by the Campaign for a Fair Economy, although both guarantee workers an eventual $15 an hour.

The earlier proposal, backed by a coalition that included city employee union SEIU Local 1021, the Progressive Worker’s Alliance, San Francisco Rising, and other progressive organizations, sought to increase the minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2015, $14 by 2016, and $15 by 2017.

So at the end of the day, the newly unveiled consensus proposal would leave minimum wage earners with $0.75 less per hour in 2015 and $1 less in 2017 than what the Campaign for a Fair Economy originally called for, but the broader support for this measure might mean brighter prospects for lowest-paid workers in the long run. The consensus proposal also eliminates the idea of an enforcement committee tasked with holding employers to the mandatory wage increases, yet continues to allocate resources for this purpose.

Shaw San Liu of the Campaign for a Fair Economy, who was part of the negotiations for the consensus measure, noted that this piece was especially important: “It is meaningless to raise the minimum wage if they’re not going to enforce it,” she said. The Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement, tasked with upholding the minimum wage, is currently experiencing a backlog due to case volume.

Shaw San Liu speaks about the importance of the proposed wage increase.

Moderates' strong opposition to the more ambitious wage increase posed the threat of having two competing measures going to voters in November. Now that a single unified measure is headed to the ballot, there may be less of a risk that workers will end up with an inadequate increase or none at all.

The across-the-board increase to $15 an hour makes this a stronger proposal than a similar wage increase moving forward in Seattle, although that city has a lower cost of living than San Francisco, so the wage will stretch a lot farther. San Francisco has a notoriously high cost of living; former Mayor Willie Brown once famously quipped that anyone earning less than $50,000 simply shouldn't try to live in the city, and rents were much lower then. Under this proposal, minimum wage workers can hope to earn $31,200 before taxes by 2018, with wages continuing up from there in correlation with Consumer Price Index adjustments.

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce was adamantly opposed to the earlier ballot measure proposal, but is now on board. “We think that with consensus built up around this measure, which residents will be voting on, we’ve reached that compromise,” Wade Rose, co-chair of the Public Policy Committee of the SFCOC, said at the press event.

However, the SFCOC played a minimum role in the negotiations, with the key players being labor leader Mike Casey, Liu of the Progressive Workers Alliance, Sup. Kim and her staff, and Mayor Lee and his staff, with input from a variety of minimum wage earners, employers, and other stakeholders.

Kim called the measure “the most progressive and strongest minimum wage proposal in the country,” and later clarified that unlike a similar proposal in Seattle, this measure guarantees a $15 wage across the board regardless of business size or additional benefits. “There will be no tip credit or health care credit – this will be pure wages that San Francisco workers will be bringing home to their families," Kim said. "Despite setting a successful precedent in 2003, which set the highest minimum wage in the country then, in the last years in particular we’ve been seeing a widening income gap between our lowest paid workers and our highest paid workers. In times of economic prosperity, no one should be left behind.”

“We’ve heard input from all of the different affected sectors of our community – earners, and people who pay the minimum wage, we’ve heard from nonprofits as well as small businesses and large businesses,” Mayor Lee said at a June 10 press conference. “And today, with the current minimum wage at $10.74, there’s been an across the board agreement that that just doesn’t cut it; that’s not enough.”

Lee emphasized that with the unveiling of the consensus proposal, “there are no two measures. There is one measure,” destined for the November ballot. He added that in the course of negotiations between opposing sides, “there was reality that needed to be checked in on all sides.”

Comments

The danger, obviously, is that it would be a job killer. Little point in raising pay levels and having thousands lose their jobs.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

tips from this higher minimum wage. That is what Seattle did recently, and it's the case almost everywhere, including federally.

I predict tips will go down if diners realize the waiter staff are making 30K a year.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2014 @ 7:19 am

we will lay off 200 employees and move those job to Los Angeles where we are already set up if it passes

Posted by Jag on Jun. 22, 2014 @ 7:41 pm

"Progressive Workers Alliance?" Do any progressive workers you know belong to this alliance?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 10, 2014 @ 5:21 pm

Seems meaningless to me. I've never met a regressive worker.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

You'd think that a progressive worker would be someone who holds progressive political values and works in San Francisco. But this is yet another astroturf nonprofit facade. I was going to be that you've got to wade through an alphabet soup of qualifying adjectives to get to the workers' part and it appears that my presumption is indeed correct:

Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth

Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)

Filipino Community Center (FCC)

La Raza Centro Legal—Day Laborer Program and Women’s Collective

Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)

People Organized to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER)

People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER)

Pride at Work (PAW)

Young Workers United (YWU)

Posted by marcos on Jun. 11, 2014 @ 7:01 am

Most people work; some do not.

Most people aren't progressives; some are.

Two distinct things with no bearing on your job performance.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2014 @ 7:17 am

Not sure which is less relevant, Yet Another astroturf organization of organizations or the previous comment. Both seek to pigeonhole people based on prejudice. Clearly there are progressives who are workers none of whom are involved in the Progressive Worker Alliance crapped out by the same nonprofits who run interference for neoliberalism.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 11, 2014 @ 7:46 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2014 @ 7:59 am

Dude all those groups you just listed are progressive community groups who have large memberships of working class and working poor members. Your weird hatred for everything that isn't centered around you got tired a long time ago.

Siting behind that computer without any human interaction, typing the same angry comments over and over must be giving you carpal tunnel man. Other than bitch and moan and tell everyone how if they would only listen to you how things would be so much better, what have you been up to? Not shit.

These people just significantly raised the minimum wage! Fuck yeah to them and fuck you to you!

Posted by ifunouno on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 1:07 am

What are the membership numbers for these groups.

Are these groups democratically run?

Seattle set the terms of the debate on raising the min wage. In this case, the nonprofiteers copied what happened in Seattle and because they have no base to speak of, the $15 effort was coopted early and often by the Mayor, POA and Firefighters union.

San Francisco lags behind Seattle on the min wage because in Seattle, what passes for "the left" has not been coopted by the governing corporate coalition and they were able to elect a radical that ousted a corporate hack.

SEIU did more to move $15 agenda than the nonprofits did.

So long as San Francisco "progressive" politics centers around unaccoutable, nondemocratic largely city funded nonprofits, then we're going to continue to see occasional increments of change that are rendered inconsequential by the lurches forward that neoliberalism makes.

You're tired of my bitching? Show me the wins, bitch.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 5:28 am

Here's the "membership" of San Francisco "Rising," funny how it is the same membership as "Progressive Workers Alliance." This is a rehash of the popular front approach to creating the illusion of multiple broad-based coalitions that under the covers are the same activists:

Causa Justa :: Just Cause (CJJC)

Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)

Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth

Filipino Community Center (FCC)

Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)

People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER)

People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER)

SF Day Labor Program / La Colectiva de Mujeres

South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN)

- - -

We can go back in time over the last 15 years to see several other instances in the historical record where the same groups aggregate in similar combinations making similar outlandish claims to representation that end up costing us more than we gain as a community. Somehow, we never end up getting to the community empowerment part of the program, probably because the members of the coalition hold most members of the community in political contempt. How many times do you all expect to be able to trot out the same lame "coalitions" and for us not to notice?

These groups are not completely useless, sometimes some of them produce political value. More often than they, they serve as the focal point of cooptation of neoliberalism over popular aspiration. But the idea that they can be endlessly combined into new astroturf groups as needed on-the-fly belies credibility.

I really need to write a San Francisco Popular Front name generator.

And, yeah, spouse, check, family, check, house, check, cats, check, garden, check, bicycle, check, trips to the mountains and desert and beyond, check, job, check. My life that I have is good, thanks. It is the bad taste after donating the better part of a decade to politics, winning more often than not but sandbagged by association with opportunistic and ineffective scamsters trapped in their bureaucratic quicksand that I'm working through now, check.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 6:07 am

I wonder what your spouse thinks about your bending over for any male stranger that crosses your field of vision.

Posted by Becky Backside on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 6:44 am

Homophobic slut shaming from stage right.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 6:57 am

Slut shaming yes, but why homophobic?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 9:02 am

And an inability to ever shut up.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 9:22 am

nyphomaniac. All he has got left now is ranting 24/7 online and getting the odd shag where he can.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 8:11 am

Political hacks dissing volunteer citizens for participating in politics via homophobic slut shaming insults.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 8:34 am

Wear it with pride.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 9:21 am

What is this, Mayberry?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 10:04 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 10:23 am

My, Andy, what is it with these big city folks and their strange ways driving plumb on through Mayberry, you and Barney ought ticket them to teach them a lesson in our ways.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 10:30 am

way readers here know that you know that you have lost a debate.

Second indicator is getting abusive and calling the winning party a "troll".

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 10:49 am

You never win when you go ad hominem, you simply hijack the bankruptcy of your case on the merits.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 11:02 am

go the way you want it to. You're notorious for it and yet, when someone calls you out on it, you get outraged.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 11:10 am

The complete lack of self-awareness likely means he never grew up or suffered some trauma at an early age. I'm usually forgiving of those with severe mental disabilities, but when they keep thrashing a place it's time to lock them up. Too bad Reagan closed so many mental health facilities.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 10:55 am

smart. That's why he uses (and often misuses, amusingly) long words and obfuscatory phrasing. He tries too hard.

The need to respond to every post on SFBG even though he knows only about 20 people read it, indicates OCD.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 11:12 am

... I'm sure the list goes on. He's the classic troll who uses impersonal chatboards to give some meaning to life since otherwise they'd be very lonely individuals. Lilli, marcos, becky and anon are cut from the same cloth - ineffectual individuals who think they are much smarter than they really are and who can't address their own inadequacies in private rather than acting out on public chatboards.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 11:27 am

Ad hominem attacks to defend the corruption nexus imposed on our communities by the developers and their racist nonprofits. Racist nonprofits? Yeah, on their watch while they get paid to represent ethnicities, the fate of those ethnicities in San Francisco has deteriorated markedly. Complicity with racist structures is racist irrespective of verbiage to the contrary.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

nerve to accuse SF non-profits of being racist?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

When a whole gaggle of people are being paid for years by racists to represent and protect a community against racist policies and they are ineffective in doing that and racism prevails, then they aid and abet racism with their organizing choices. Does that make them racists? Probably not. But their organizations are in the service of racists and are unable to stop by their own hand they refer to as racist outcomes.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

Denying that convinces nobody. You are a white male tech worker who has helped gentrify a Hispanic community. The blood is also on your hands.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

Do you ever stop with the ad hominem?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 1:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

Holding paid political actors accountable is not ad hominem, but thanks for playing.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 1:34 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

You'd ignore mere whining.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 2:09 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

Thus saith the paid conservative trolls who camp out on a progressive comment section.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 11:16 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 11:32 am

Uh huh, people with no political affinity for a website simply post for fun.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 12:08 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

"Progressive Workers Alliance"

Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth

Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)

Filipino Community Center (FCC)

La Raza Centro Legal—Day Laborer Program and Women’s Collective

Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)

People Organized to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER)

People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER)

Pride at Work (PAW)

Young Workers United (YWU)

----

"San Francisco Rising"

Causa Justa :: Just Cause (CJJC)

Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)

Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth

Filipino Community Center (FCC)

Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)

People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER)

People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER)

SF Day Labor Program / La Colectiva de Mujeres

South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN)

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 10:10 am

Except that the little boy is really a sad old failure.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 10:24 am

Working creates net value. Thrashing and flailing looks like work but does not create net value. It is not work if you and the people you work for lose more as time goes by.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 10:29 am

I thought your complaint was that they are getting built?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 10:48 am

You are confused.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 11:02 am

and as a result new homes get built. so presumably you'd prefer those homes not get built.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 11:14 am

I'd prefer that the nonprofits don't fold like chairs when commanded to by their corporate masters while claiming to be "leftists" toiling thanklessly on behalf of "the people."

Posted by marcos on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 11:22 am

just because someone somewhere might make a profit out of it?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2014 @ 11:34 am

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