Council approves minimum wage increase

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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


  • wes

    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

      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

        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

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

  • derp

    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

    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.

  • Andy

    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

      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

        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

        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


  • Guest

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

    • DavidM

      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

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

    • Fred

      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.

  • Denny Rivera

    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.

  • Thomas DeSoto

    Silencing Journalist is so typical in today climate
    as real journalism is now suppressed and shoved under the rug,
    Journalist right now are being arrested in Ferguson, and many other
    states across the nation, etc,… Whistle blowers are persecuted,
    character assassinated and arrested for telling the truth, while the
    Republican Wolves on Wall Street are awarded billions for their
    deception and criminal activities. Rich Republicans have now purchased
    many national news organizations and newspapers all across the country
    and are totally one sided in their coverage of the issues of the day.
    They have become highly political and even straight up liars when it
    comes to Republican propaganda working to insight mayhem and violence
    around the world. The San Diego Union Tribune is a fine example of the
    Republican propaganda machine helping to sway public opinion and using
    their powers of persuasion to manipulate the tide of public opinion, as
    they support local business owners to avoid raising the minimum wage in
    our county. A real news paper would have been on the side of those in
    penury struggling to survive the high cost of living and run away
    inflation. Rising the minimum wage a few bucks isn't going to bankrupt
    anyone, but reading the outrageous spin coming out of the Union Tribune,
    or listening to our Republican Mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer you
    would think this is going to bankrupt all business in San Diego and shut
    down every company across the county. It's all such a joke and a
    complete fabrication of the facts. There used to be thousands of
    independent news organizations in America, but today there are only
    nine, who are all owned and controlled by a hand full of wealthy
    Republicans who have a vested interest and now have been able to set the
    mood of the day to capitalize on their own selfish political agenda to
    profit handsomely on the backs of hard working American taxpayers. Our own apathy
    allows these types of horrendous take overs to occur unfettered and with
    little resistance to ever fight back against the status qoe.

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