The June Primary elections are just two months away, and I want you to think about supporting our endorsed candidate for San Diego City Council District 9 (on page 6) as well as supporting the minimum wage ballot initiative for the City of San Diego.
This initiative will not only raise the minimum wage, it will also give workers 40 hours of sick leave, which is good for low-wage workers who have contact with the public and food.
The wage hike and sick leave plan was approved by the City Council nearly two years ago, but opponents, such as the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, collected enough signatures to force a public vote.
The measure, if passed, will raise the minimum wage for employees within city limits to $10.50 an hour immediately, and to $11.50 hourly on January 1 next year. Employees would also be able to accumulate the sick leave, if they don’t already have it.
Approximately 38 percent of San Diegans cannot afford to make ends meet — not because they’re not working, they just don’t earn enough to live in this city. People are struggling to make ends meet.
The sick leave portion will give part-time and hourly workers in places where they interact with the public, like restaurants and grocery stores, an incentive to stay home when they’re ill, not passing along colds and flu.
There’s a lot of mythology surrounding minimum wage hikes put out by Chambers of Commerce. But that’s just what they are – myths.
Contrary to Chamber of Commerce talking points, the typical minimum wage worker is not a high school student earning weekend pocket money. In fact, 89 percent of those who would benefit from a minimum wage increase are age 20 or older, half of them are over 50 and 56 percent are women.
Increasing the minimum wage will not cause people to lose their jobs. More than 600 economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners say, “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. A minimum wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.”
A July 2015 survey found that three out of five small business owners with employees support a gradual increase in the minimum wage. The survey reports that small business owners say an increase “would immediately put more money in the pocket of low-wage workers who will then spend the money on things like housing, food, and gas. This boost in demand for goods and services will help stimulate the economy and help create opportunities.”
Some say the increase for San Diego, puts small businesses at a disadvantage, but that’s not true. It will lift up the lowest paid in our society so they will have more purchasing power, which is good for all business.
Estimates are that at least 172,000 city residents will receive raises if the measure is passed, while 279,000 will earn sick leave. Voting in favor of the minimum wage hike will lift up the lowest paid workers, helping them pay for the basics: rent, food and transportation to and from work.
Let’s vote to lift up all workers.