Council approves minimum wage increase

SAN DIEGO — City Council decided Monday to forgo a public vote and approve a phased-in increase of minimum wage in San Diego.

The minimum wage in San Diego will go up at the beginning of next year after the City Council Monday night approved the hike and a requirement that companies offer five earned sick days annually.

San Diego city moneyBy passing the increase directly, the council, by a 6-3 margin, skipped the original plan by council President Todd Gloria to put the issue to a public vote in November.

The ordinance will increase the hourly minimum wage to $9.75 on Jan. 1, $10.50 in January of 2016 and $11.50 in January of 2017. Beginning in January 2019, the pay scale will be indexed to inflation.

“San Diegans know that a stronger workforce and a stronger economy will result from passage of the proposal (tonight) and will get San Diego just a bit closer to being a great city,” Gloria said.

He said San Diego is joining a national movement toward higher wages.

“This is a reasonable, common sense proposal that maintains tremendous benefits for our workers and our local economy while reducing the potential impacts on businesses,” Gloria said.

Supporters said having extra money in their pockets will make it easier to live in a high-cost city. Gloria’ original proposal had been $13.09 an hour, a figure that a community group pegged as the amount needed to live here on a no-frills budget.

On the other hand, Channelle Hawken, of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said raising the minimum wage above that of California would put the city at a competitive disadvantage.

“We are already seeing and hearing from our members that have businesses that are raising prices and cutting jobs in response to the current increase in the (state) minimum wage,” Hawken said. The state minimum hourly wage went from $8 to $9 on July 1.

Hawken said a recent survey of chamber members found that the proposed minimum wage increase is a bigger concern than healthcare expenses, and that 14 percent of members are considering moving out of San Diego.

Harry Schwartz, a former critic of Gloria’s proposal, said he is now on the fence.

Schwartz, who co-owns the downtown Ace Hardware with his sister, said he supports the wage hike to $11.50 an hour “as we believe this is a compromise that will help address San Diego’s poverty issue without decimating our small business.”

However, he said he could not offer full support because the plan does not envision lower wages for youth workers or trainees.

Councilwoman Sherri Lightner said a tiered system would violate state labor law.

Council members Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman and Lorie Zapf cast the dissenting votes.

Supporters of the sick leave requirement said it will keep employees from showing up for their jobs while ill and infecting the public and their co- workers.


Story by James R. Riffel of City News Service


19 Comments to “Council approves minimum wage increase”

    wes said:
    July 14, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    This causes layoffs but the left does not care about that. This is why California will fail in the future. as middle class we are doomed. Illegals have more rights then I do.

      DavidM said:
      July 15, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      So long as businesses need employees they will pay the minimum wage. The owner who pays himself $300,000 per year to watch his minimum wage employees needs to understand that maybe $200,000 thousand is enough, and his employees will have a wage high enough to put gas in the car, and maybe get off food stamps. When will the business class understand that poverty programs are just a subsidy for them to abuse their employees? At minimum wage, a single man still gets free MediCal and more than $100 a month in taxpayer sponsored food subsidy. Pay your employees fairly, or do the work yourself.

        Michael M said:
        July 16, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Nonsense. . . If employees are not getting paid fairly, then they will go work someone who pays them more. . . or they will demonstrate more value. . . this entitlement attitude is exactly why the US is falling behind companies who teach their children to compete at a young age and to understand that if you're more talented and work harder, you will earn more. Increasing the minimum wage to the point that people can live on it discourages them from improving their own lot in life. It creates mediocrity and expands our current idiocracy . . . why work harder? why get smarter?? the government will make them pay me more, regardless of whether i deserve it.

          michael m said:
          July 16, 2014 at 3:17 PM

          pardon the typos. . . auto-correct has enabled me to become part of the idiocracy of which i complain.

    derp said:
    July 15, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    Nope. California(and the rest of the country) will fall because idiots continue to support corporate greed. Keep believing what those rich republicans tell you though. "Dem illegals iz takin ma lands" Don't surprise anybody…

    Daniel said:
    July 15, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    Summer jobs will soon be near non existent in the City of San Diego, but who cares. We must have a living wage for dropouts.

      Alan said:
      July 15, 2014 at 2:15 AM

      As long as we have the beach and amusement parks such as Sea World, there will be summer jobs.

    Andy said:
    July 15, 2014 at 5:06 AM

    Not only will this lead to layoffs, inflation, and companies moving out of San Diego, it also means that if you make more then minimum wage this is a pay cut. I'm am by no means rich but I do make more than minimum wage. Now I'm going to have to pay the inflated costs this will cause without a pay increase. There are a lot of people out there like me that will have to cut back on purchases which will cause the economy to go down, not up.

      bruce said:
      July 15, 2014 at 5:20 AM

      Nonsense. Look at both San Francisco and San Jose. Low unemployment and both areas are booming. The number of restaurants in San Jose has increased dramatically since the wage was raised.

        Andy said:
        July 15, 2014 at 5:42 AM

        They're not booming, underemployment and unemployment are two different things. The middle class in San Francisco is shrinking dramatically, it's the most expensive place to live in the country, and more companies have left the area in the last year then have come to it. The only people that can afford to live there are the rich and those that qualify for assistance. I'm don't belong to either of those groups. The only thing keeping that city going is the tech industry which has an established base in the area.

        Ash said:
        July 15, 2014 at 10:43 PM

        Yeah Bruce, look at SF:
        Consumer Prices in San Francisco, CA are 23.94% higher than in San Diego, CA
        Consumer Prices Including Rent in San Francisco, CA are 45.94% higher than in San Diego, CA
        Rent Prices in San Francisco, CA are 79.70% higher than in San Diego, CA
        Restaurant Prices in San Francisco, CA are 17.99% higher than in San Diego, CA
        Groceries Prices in San Francisco, CA are 41.01% higher than in San Diego, CA
        Local Purchasing Power in San Francisco, CA is 21.63% lower than in San Diego, CA

        Source: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_citi

    Guest said:
    July 15, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    Just had three friends in the fast food industry got laid off, more cardboard cities in Downtown San Diego.

      DavidM said:
      July 15, 2014 at 6:41 PM

      They got laid off because of a minimum wage hike that hasn't gone into effect yet? You might want to rethink that argument.

    Guest said:
    July 15, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    Have to remember every year millions of High School and College Grads join millions of unemeployed Americans due to Obama and the Dems

      Fred said:
      July 16, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      You are a freakin idiot guest !!!

      It has nothing to do with just one political party, it has to with the corporate greed, including all politicians.

    Dave said:
    July 16, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    I think this is still too low. It should be $19/hr. People still can't live with $9.75!

    Denny Rivera said:
    July 25, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    I'm not sure adults were ever meant to work for minimum wage and expect to raise families, live in great neighborhoods, etc. Minimum wage jobs are for teens and part-timers who are supplementing a spouse's income. Raising the minimum wage will not work.

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