Gloria lowers minimum wage proposal

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SAN DIEGO — A revised proposal to hike the minimum wage in San Diego to $11.50 an hour was referred by the City Council to city staff Monday so that required negotiations with organized labor can begin.

The proposed pay hike, which could go before San Diego voters this fall, was revised downward by its chief proponent, City Council President Todd Gloria, who originally proposed an incremental increase to $13.09 an hour.

Seattle approves $15 minimum wageAt a news conference before the City Council meeting, he unveiled what he called a “reasonable compromise.” The wage hike would be phased in over three years, and like, the earlier proposal, would require employers to give workers five earned sick days.

Gloria, whose original proposal drew opposition from Mayor Kevin Faulconer, some members of the City Council and business groups, said he met numerous times with representatives of both sides of the issue.

“During those exchanges, I heard that my proposal brought too much change, too fast, and that a higher minimum wage would put San Diego at a competitive disadvantage,” Gloria said. “This is a common-sense compromise that reduces the potential impact on businesses while maintaining tremendous benefits for our workers and our economy.”

The direction today by the City Council, approved on a 6-3 party-line vote, keeps the options open for the pay increase to be submitted to the voters in November’s general election, or to be simply adopted directly by the council as an ordinance. Which direction the council ultimately takes is not expected until next month.

Gloria contends that increasing compensation to the lowest-paid workers would increase the earning power of 220,000 San Diegans and stimulate the economy.

Business groups and small business owners counter that a higher pay rate would force them to reduce their employees’ hours or raise prices and that raising the city’s minimum wage above those of the state would put San Diego at a competitive disadvantage.

California law specifies that workers make at least $8 an hour. The rate is due to climb to $9 next month and $10 in two years.

Gloria’s proposal would raise the minimum hourly wage in San Diego to $9.75 on Jan. 1, $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2016, and $11.50 on Jan. 1, 2017. Beginning in 2019, the pay rate would be indexed to inflation.

His proposal does not single out any types of businesses or organizations for exemptions. He did, however, say he was willing to consider a training wage that could be paid to teen employees who are seeking work experience.

Also not included is a different calculation for people who earn tips, such as restaurant workers. State law precludes tips from being factored into wage calculations, according to Gloria.

The City Attorney’s Office said it is studying the tip issue. Also, the city’s independent budget analyst’s office said it is looking into how much it might cost the city to enforce the hike.

During about two hours of public testimony, business groups continued to express their opposition to the proposal, even with the lower figure. A new of business owners who have fashioned themselves as the San Diego Small Business Coalition said even the smaller dollar amount equates to a 44 percent wage increase.

Ex-Mayor Jerry Sanders, who is now the CEO of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, said he appreciated Gloria’s lower dollar amount but said it should at least match the state minimum wage.

9 comments

  • John S

    I wonder how this will affect our eployment rate. With the minimum wage hike, alot of companies will start cutting back on employees? Ive seen fast food places begin to replace employees with self order kiosks. Good job people you've talked yourselves into more money, BUT now you have less hours OR no job. So you're no better off. But I am hoping I am wrong..

    • Maurice Samuels

      BS! You Consevitives need to stop with that Tired Lame Excuse not to raise the Wages. Produce one legit report from History PROVING this is true.

  • Guest

    Thanks to Gloria San Diego will find more homeless people on the streets. Stay out of the private sector.

  • xenubarb

    If you people who think raising the minimum wage is going to lead to dogs marrying cats and cheese falling from the sky, do some research.

    It turns out that raising the minimum wage not only gives workers a better life, it also enhances business as these folks have some disposable income to play with.

    There are lots of articles online that discuss the minimum wage issue. Keep in mind, you who are whining about prices going up and businesses cutting back; when people do not get a living wage, the government has to make up the difference. YOUR public money enables people like the Waltons to live fat on the labor of others. I say if you can't afford to run a business, don't do it. And don't expect taxpayers to bail you out.

  • Fred

    Do you believe everything you read online??

    You must or you wouldn't be spouting off as you are.

    It's clear economics……

  • justkillintime

    He said 'It's clear economics' – hey that's all the proof I need, I wouldn't read some stupid documents from stupid 'studies' – that kind of thing never produces information or knowledge. His catch phrase however is something I can get behind.

  • FDR

    if a place was going to self order kiosk's, they were going to no matter what, even if we didn't raise the min wage: Applebees is doing it and waitresses make 2$ a hour… and they can only cut back employees so much, its not so much wages that drives the number of employees you have, its reaching a level of optimal productivity… and raising pay and cutting back the hours of the work week, is really the only way to solve the long term unemployment problem…

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