(3/29/16) Hey gang: We’ve noticed that Google is sending people to this older story published back in October 2015. Here’s the latest on $15 in California.
By Doug Porter
California advocates for a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage are marshaling their forces in support of a November 2016 initiative. The mayors of San Francisco and Oakland, cities which have already passed increases, appeared at a press conference on Tuesday to announce they will be leading the effort. The measure was submitted to the state by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West.
The Fair Wage Act of 2016 will raise the minimum wage for all California workers by $1 annually, effective January 2017. Once the minimum wage reaches $15, it will automatically go up each year to match the cost of living. The state’s minimum wage is currently $9 an hour and is set to rise to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. Cities will continue to have the option of setting higher local minimum wages.
San Diego events related to the Fight for $15 movement are already planned as part of the build-up to next year’s election. A regional wage hearing set for October 17th will hear testimony from workers, economists, academics, students, and labor leaders as a prelude to garnering commitments from local political leaders. A Day of Action in November will see protests on college campuses, at fast food restaurants, and in downtown San Diego.
I’m told that local organizers intend to push for ‘yes’ votes on the local minimum wage/paid sick days referendum scheduled for June, 2016 in the lead up to the fall election. It’s a terrific idea, a way of raising a one-finger salute in response to the despicable campaign against a local ordinance led by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce with backing from national corporate chains.
Here’s a snippet about the statewide effort from the Sacramento Bee:
Consultants for the measure say the argument is already resonating. Steve Trossman, a spokesman for the sponsoring Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, said the campaign has collected most of the 366,000 signatures needed to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.
A Public Policy Institute of California survey last week found that 92 percent of Californians believe poverty is a large problem, and nearly seven in 10 residents think the government should step up its involvement to reduce the gulf between the rich and the poor. While the economic picture has improved, stubborn levels of poverty remain in pockets of the state.
“I think that there’s angst out there,” said Mark Baldassare, president and survey director at PPIC. “There is very broad awareness in California today that poverty and inequality are big problems facing our state, and it’s an issue both Democrats and Republicans are thinking about.”
Enough of this one city at a time stuff. It’s time to raise the minimum wage statewide.
As was true back when the City Council was considering the original (and much more modest) minimum wage ordinance, the corporations with a business model including wages too low to live on can be expected to crank up misleading ads, misdirection efforts and a tsunami of lies.
It’s important to remember that those industries, especially fast food restaurants, are only able to pay sub-par wages because of the government programs their employees turn to as a matter of survival. This struggle should be viewed as an effort to end corporate welfare and provide a pay increase to workers who’ve been left behind.
The minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living and is worth less today than it was 50 years ago. This loss of purchasing power means millions of Californians are unable to afford an adequate standard of living, which harms families and the state’s economy and budget.
Other facts about minimum wage life in California:
- A full-time worker making the minimum wage in California earns less than $19,000 a year.
- 3.2 million Californians – more than a third of all hourly wage earners – earn less than $15 an hour and would receive a raise from the ballot initiative.
- 1.8 million people in California earn the minimum wage, including 200,000 who are older than 55.
- More than half of minimum wage workers in California are women.
- 95 percent of minimum wage workers in California are adults – at least 20-years-old – and more than half are older than 30.
- 30 percent of minimum wage earners have children.
Equal Pay Bill for California Women Signed
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Fair Pay Act, a bill being described as the strongest equal pay law in the nation.
From the Union-Tribune:
The bill by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Santa Barbara Democrat, expands California’s existing equal pay law and goes further than federal law by placing the burden on the employer to prove a man’s higher pay is based on factors other than gender.
It also protects workers from discrimination and retaliation if they ask questions about how much other people earn, though it doesn’t require that employers provide that information. Workers also will gain the right to sue if they are paid less than someone with a different job title who does “substantially similar” work.
Supreme Court Clears Way for Home-care Worker Rules
Chief Justice Roberts signed an order on Tuesday denying a request by three home-care industry groups for a delay of new Labor Department rules.
This is kind of a big deal. Effective next week home-care workers who are hired by businesses will be eligible for minimum wages and overtime pay.
Here’s a little background, from the SCOTUS blog:
For decades, the Labor Department had followed a policy that home-care workers were not eligible for minimum wage and overtime pay provisions of federal law. Two years ago, it changed its mind, concluding that the home-care industry had changed markedly, with fewer patients being treated in nursing homes and hospitals and more receiving care at home.
The new rules do not apply to home-care workers who are hired directly by patients or their families, but only to those who are employed through businesses.
Greenhut’s ‘Utter Bullshit’ on Motor Voter
Speaking of big deals, one of the major bills yet to be signed by Gov. Brown is the New Motor Voter Act, which would automatically register to vote qualified people who have California driver’s licenses or state identification cards unless they specifically opt out.
The legislation has attracted national attention, including a New York Times editorial saying Brown “should sign the measure with pleasure.”
UT-San Diego’s Steven Greenhut wanted readers to know he’s not a racist like those other Republicans, but none-the-less saw fit to blow the party’s nativist dog whistle, claiming “anything that so obviously blurs the voting lines between citizen and non-citizen will only make it less important to be an American.”
The source (“critics say”) for Greenhut’s wisdom appears to be the Election Integrity Project, described ably by SDFP’s own Anna Daniels during the 2012 election season as she observed one of their ‘training sessions’:
The Election Integrity Project, although it defines itself as non-partisan, operates as a platform for the conservative Heritage Foundation, the right wing Breitbart.com, and the Tea Party groups True the Vote and the non-profit iCaucus. Their website raises the ubiquitous fearful specter of voter fraud; their intent is to police the act of voting itself, to assure that “every lawfully cast vote [is] accurately counted.”
While the restrictive voter laws enacted after the Republicans gained power in 2010 have the impact if not the explicit intent to suppress the vote of communities of color, the young and the elderly who tend to vote Democrat, True the Vote and its offshoots not only support those efforts but have also assumed the role of election vigilantes at the polls and registrar offices.
Certain that busloads of foreign looking people have been driven to the polls to vote, that dead people routinely vote, and that mass in-person voter fraud has or could swing election results, they do not see their challenges and presence as intimidation. They are merely protecting your vote, whether you feel a need for that protection or not, or whether the facts support their belief, which they don’t.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who authored the New Motor Voter Act, was just a tad offended by Greenhut’s grousing. If they gave Academy Awards to politicians for bluntness, I’m sure her response on Facebook would garner a nomination.
Every now and then you read something that is utter bullshit. Things that are untrue, not factual and simply racist. It’s more disturbing when you read it in a so- called newspaper. It’s crystal clear that a new owner has done nothing to usher in fact based content in the UT.
Today, all you need to register to vote is to fill out a form, not even in person. With this bill, we increase the threshold for registration with documentation, identification and in-person verification of citizenship. Immigrant license holders are barred from registration, and Greenhut is smart enough to know that. He’s hoping you’re not.
Oregon’s (Green) Union Label
Salem, Oregon’s Statesman-Journal reports that collective bargaining contracts between cannabis workers and dispensaries are in progress. Contracts, which have already been approved at two workplaces, follow organizing efforts by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, which represents more than 20,000 retail and manufacturing workers in Oregon and Washington.
Agreements already in place with at least two companies call for wages between $15 and $34 an hour, along with provisions for regular raises, health care, retirement options, and provisions for employee safety.
On This Day: 1879 – Joe Hill, labor leader and songwriter, was born in Gavle, Sweden. 1957 – RCA Victor announced that they had already received 500,000 advance orders for Elvis Presley’s Christmas album. 2001 – The U.S. and Great Britain began airstrikes in Afghanistan in response to allegations about that state’s support of terrorism and Osama bin Laden. The war continues today.
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