San Diego is joining a growing movement of cities using local policies to counter rising income inequality and falling real wages.
City Council President Todd Gloria, other Council members and a community coalition called Raise Up San Diego announced plans to put a comprehensive measure on the November ballot in support of earned sick days and an increase in the minimum wage.
Research on earned sick days and on the higher minimum wage rate in San Francisco shed important light on the economic impacts when cities raise the low-wage floor.
Ten years ago, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to enact a city-wide minimum wage ordinance. The wage floor, now $10.74, is indexed to maintain buying power over time. More than 50,000 workers received higher pay as a result of the law, and low-wage workers earnings increased by an estimated $1.2 billion over the next decade.
The minimum wage law enabled San Francisco to buck a national trend of declining real wages (meaning adjusted for inflation) for workers at the bottom of the income spectrum. Between 2003 and 2013, real wages for low-paid workers stagnated and then fell in surrounding Bay Area counties and the rest of the country. But in San Francisco, wages rose.
The city also passed a paid sick leave ordinance in 2006. Workers earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. While employers initially expressed concern about San Francisco’s ordinance, a survey after the law was implemented found broad employer support.
Help Us Raise $100k By the End of May
Another situation to keep an eye on - Seattle's mayor is proposing raising their minimum wage to $15 p/h
My buddy Jim Bass, he works pumping gas. He makes $2.50 an hour. He's got rhythm in hands as he's beating on the cans. He sings rock and roll in the shower.
@ToddGloria Funny how no outrage over sky-high rent and gas but God forbid you pay people enough to afford to live here and work for you.
@ToddGloria Wages for legal professionals like me are around $12-18/hr. I earn more but barely afford rent. Wages must match cost of living
@ToddGloria ...we are just "reacting" to inflation, not responding to it. Trace the root issue... :)
San Francisco was already geographically small, and expensive tourist town, with convenient public transportation from the outlying areas. For example, Forbes Island restaurants costs are not dominated by the dishwasher labor. In addition, some labor, such as sole proprietor food carts do not have employees, and are off the books. San Francisco hotels are not cheap, and costs are not dominated by maid money. San Diego could raise the minimum wage downtown and in La Jolla with good results, but not in Kearny Mesa and Mira Mesa.
Mr. Kimball: What is your evidence to support the statement that, "San Diego could raise the minimum wage downtown and in La Jolla with good results, but not in Kearny Mesa and Mira Mesa."
@Chris Brewster You obviously are ignoring the laws of supply and demand as influenced by the forces of competition, and are incapable of estimating business operating costs share based on labor, unless someone else tells you in a some peer reviewed journal paper. All your statements indicate that you are unwilling to make any mathematical estimates on your own, and are thus lacking in the application of critical thinking skills required for a reasoned debate. This is intentional on your part, especially given the very high price of real estate in San Francisco, for which I have submitted no evidence.
Mr. Kimball: I appreciate that you are of the view that I am lacking in the application of critical thinking skills. You opinions in that regard notwithstanding, I am merely asking for the basis for your statement.
I note several comments here that generally disparage this commentary based on sarcasm and suggestions that these individuals are biased. I note no comments that refer us to data which refute their asserted facts and conclusions. It's always frustrating to see a cherished belief refuted, but if you disagree with the bases of the commentary please give me tangible arguments, not political dogma.
@Chris Brewster The reason why restaurants have increased employment in San Francisco is because the Silicon Valley wealth is living in San Francisco and going out to eat more often in higher priced restaurants. This masks the damage in the union-driven minimum wage hike explosion
Ms. Forsberg: Firstly, any evidence of this or are you simply expressing an opinion? Secondly, you state that, "This masks the damage in the union-driven minimum wage hike explosion." Two questions: 1) What damage? 2) What explosion?
To cherry pick a couple of your comments: "most reasonable people realize [the correctness of your point of view." and "No amount of common sense will convince someone [who doesn't share your point of view]." That is argument, not evidence.
The study referenced was by a group that is pro-labor and extremely biased thus is very suspect.
Junk Science? Sure looks like agenda backed B.S. . Read the guys bio on wikipedia
One of the authors, Michael Reich, was a founding member of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE).
They are in a nut shell....socialists.
Mr. Giffin: My interest is mostly in the underlying data which, as I have noted, no one seems to be able to refute here. Instead, there is a lot of opinion and so on. Here are some key facts they have laid out. Do you believe them to be untrue? You could request a fact check.
- 10 years ago SF was first to create a city minimum wage ordinance.
- The wage was indexed and is now $10.74.
- 50,000+ workers received higher pay as a result of the law.
- Between 2003 and 2013, real wages for low-paid workers stagnated and then fell in surrounding Bay Area counties and the rest of the country. But in San Francisco, wages rose.
- The city also passed a paid sick leave ordinance in 2006.
- While employers initially expressed concern, a survey after the law was implemented found broad employer support.
- Since the minimum wage ordinance took effect employment has increased 17% in SF versus 13% in neighboring cities.
- Similar situations have been found elsewhere in the country.
- The $10.10 national minimum wage proposed by Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. George Miller would reduce the number of people in poverty by 4.6 million.
- "The wage was indexed and is now $10.74."
Much as the state has proposed. Like I said I consider that prudent. Assumption that ours goes to the proposed increase that would be a large % jump.
"While employers initially expressed concern, a survey after the law was implemented found broad employer support."
That statement is nebulous. Define Broad support
-" Since the minimum wage ordinance took effect employment has increased 17% in SF versus 13% in neighboring cities."
OK. how much minimum wage vs higher paying jobs. No breakdown.
Looks like cherry picking to me.
Like I said in another post I may very well support this but for a different reason.
I'm not trying to refute the "facts" as much as I'm saying their Key facts are ambiguous and do not go into much depth leaving .
In addition there is no figures on how many businesses increased or decreased and whether those increase decrease were in larger higher end or in small operations
Got it. I personally like the Ron Unz justification (i.e. don't let employers pay so little that we end up subsidizing them through social welfare programs).
Mr. Jones: More unsubstantiated hyperbole. Who says there will be any increase in unemployment. Got any evidence of that? According to 600 economists:
"In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market."
In the latest financial news tonight, Venezuela just raised its minimum wage by 30%! Surely we San Diegans can do better than that.
@Jim Jones Hey Jim, sounds like you've been reading up on that old insurance executive Charles Ives. His big thing was developing Estate Planning. Anyway, he proposed that there should be cap on individual property. I think he wrote that around 1916.
@Jim Jones Yup, for most people, if they are lucky enough to own their own home, it is their largest investment. You are sounding more and more like that old insurance mogul. He wasn't being sarcastic, though.
pure fecal matter more citizens will not be able to afford going to a restaurant or staying in a san diego hotel.. less tourists for san diego more for cities with cheaper hotel rates .. less jobs and more poverty and homelessness as has pappened doring the lasdt 5 ears in sam diego .. greenwald 4 California governor 2014 if its brown flushit down !!
what a farce there are more homeless and people living in poverty than in the last 10 years.. san Francisco is unaffordable for 67% of the citizens living there!!
I may very well support and vote for the wage increase. But not for the biased "research" a couple of pro labor liberal academics put forward.
If we want to slow population growth in this sector (lower income) a closed shop may very well be the way to do it.
San Diego has way too many people and far to rapid of population growth.
Yes those with money from tech industry boom helped to pay the wages. Prices at restaurants went up too. Basically inflation. How long is it going to last? tech bubble 2 is about to pop. We need to be competitive with machines that are replacing people (see self check out? just need 1 person to manage 4 of them instead of 4 cashiers). It is unfortunate cost of living is high. I think rent control might be the option, as this will help businesses stay open - look how quickly businesses turn over and bellyflop in downtown/hillcrest and north park. THe 1% includes slum lords
@Grammie According to this USA Today article, more than half of the fast food workers are also on public assistance. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/10/29/how-you-subsidize-the-minimum-wage/3295759/
The Earned Income Tax Credit helps, too
Apparently about 45% of the minimum wage workers are over 25, 49% of the people making less than minimum wage (jobs with tips/ some agricultural jobs, etc) http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012.pdf
@Grammie @-P How many rhetorical questions equal a statement? The article lays out a clear picture that would justify a minimum wage increase. It looks like charity but it ends up benefitting employees and employers alike. It's an opinion piece and labeled as such.
"But most of those employees are dumb kids! How are they going to build character if they're able to earn a living wage?"
@Jim Jones According to an article in the Seattle Times, there's another study by Nicolas Potter from the University of New Mexico that looked at basically the same effect in Santa Fe. The article also claims the Berkeley study looked at 8 cities, and 21 states. Joseph Sabia of SDSU has a study which has very different findings than either Berkeley or New Mexico studies.
In other words, economic theory can be murky.