Unions Push for Minimum Wage Hike in California Ahead of November Elections

Unions Push for Minimum Wage Hike in California Ahead of November Elections

San Diego is among a number of California cities embattled over hiking the minimum wage as Mayor Kevin Faulconer promised to veto a City Council vote Monday that approved an increase.

The vote inflates the minimum wage for San Diego to $11.50 per hour, a significant rise above the July statewide raise to $9. San Diego’s City Council vote Monday to raise the minimum wage left council President Todd Gloria calling Mayor Faulconer not to use his veto, Faulconer pledging to veto, and the council having the power to override Faulconer’s veto, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The LA Times predicts the vote will set “up a clash that will pit the Republican and the business establishment against the city’s labor unions and Democrat-controlled council.”

Yet more than one California city has faced this battle over minimum wage, with the Coalition of L.A. City Unions pushing for a raise in Los Angeles and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Board of Supervisors in San Francisco pushing a measure for increases as well. Under current state legislation, Assembly Bill 10, the statewide minimum will rise to $10 in January of 2016.

San Francisco voters will vote in this November’s general election on an increase from their current $10.74 rate that would take place in stages, to an eventual $15 rate in 2018, reported NBC Bay Area. Restaurant owners in the city have expressed outrage over the burden the new rate would place on their ability to continue to operate. Breitbart California Editor Joel Pollak reported in April on the SEIU’s push for the $15 minimum wage hike in San Francisco.

San Jose, California, saw a rise from $10 to $10.15 in their minimum wage, effective January 1 of this year. City of San Jose voters approved the ordinance to raise the wage annually in step with cost of living on November 6, 2012; adjustments began January 1, 2014. SEIU local 521 posted a 2012 “Fall Campaign Kickoff” event in support of the increase in San Jose along with the statement, “It’s the right thing to do!”

As Breitbart previously reported, questions have been raised as to union motives for pushing for minimum wage increases. A Wall Street Journal op-ed by Richard Berman pointed to the connection between union contracts and minimum wage rates: “The two most popular formulas were setting baseline union wages as a percentage above the state or federal minimum wage or mandating a flat wage premium above the minimum wage.” 

Currently the small area of Sea-Tac, Washington, carries a minimum wage of $15 an hour for hospitality and transportation workers; however, local hotel workers have been quoted as experiencing negative effects from the new rate. In a post on Northwest Asian Weekly, Assunta Ng reported the response of one hotel worker receiving the $15 minimum wage, “It sounds good, but it’s not good.” The woman interviewed went on to explain, “I lost my 401k, health insurance, paid holiday, and vacation.” Ng also recalled the woman’s comment that she used to receive overtime pay for extra work, but now overtime pay is no longer offered. Seattle, Washington’s, City Council also made headlines in June, voting to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by no later than 2018.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.