First Seattle, Now San Fran: $15 Minimum Wage Catches On

A $15 minimum wage. That’s what San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee wants.

Alongside a full Board of Supervisors, members of labor and community groups, and a member of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, a “consensus measure” for the November ballot was announced. If passed, the minimum wage boost would go into effect in July of 2018.  

“This is one of those great issues we can all unite around,” Lee said, “the shared belief that someone who puts in a hard day’s work deserves a respectable wage.”

The proposal suggests holding companies to the wage rule regardless of size and including workers who receive tips.

The move is deemed necessary despite the region’s low unemployment rate of 4.4 percent due to the growing wealth divide in the city. Shaw San Liu of the Chinese Progressive Assn., a workers’ group which helped the ballot measure along, spoke of the importance of the minimum wage:

“When the average one-bedroom apartment rents for $2,775 in the city of San Francisco, working families cannot afford to survive here, let alone thrive.
San Francisco should not be leading the country as the No. 1 fastest-growing wealth divide,” she said. “That’s not the legacy we want to leave.”

A report from UC Berkeley on neighboring Oakland debunks many minimum wage myths:

“Raising the minimum wage puts more money in the pockets of consumers, and they’ll tend to spend it locally, which is good for the local economy.  What you don’t see with minimum wage increases is a negative impact on employment or the economy.” 

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