COURTESY OF ONE LEGAL:
Once again, the debate on whether or not to increase the statewide minimum wage will be a hot topic for the new California Senate sworn in on Monday. Senator Mark Leno introduced a bill this week that would increase the minimum wage by $3 over the next two years. Labor unions across the state have attempted to join together fast-food workers and Walmart employees in an effort to increase the minimum wage to $15. They are also fighting to give these employees the ability to unionize.
Over the last year, the labor unions have organized several worker strikes. They led yet another strike on Wednesday in Sacramento, with demonstrations taking place outside fast food restaurants and bargain stores. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has stated that he would entertain the idea of raising the wage above the current $9/hour rate. He stated that in January 2015, he will organize a task force designed to explore the the concept of a minimum wage increase.
Voters in San Francisco approved a ballot measure that will increase the minimum wage in their city to $15/hour by 2018. Oakland voters approved a similar measure, and Los Angeles has raised the minimum wage for hotel employees that will take effect next year.
The task force will be comprised of business representatives and organized labor. They will be tasked with determining a timeline for a possible wage hike and who would be included in this increase.
Some business owners worry that a wage increase will negatively impact their business, especially coming so soon on the heels of the recession. Others argue that an increase is necessary to give full time workers the ability to provide for their families.
“We have to proceed cautiously and be aware of the unintended consequences,” said Kevin Greene, director of governmental affairs for the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.
California’s minimum wage became $9/hour effective July 1 of this year and will be increased to $10/hour July 1, 2016.
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