San Francisco Joins Oakland With Highest Minimum Wage in U.S.

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

More than 100 protesters filled downtown streets arguing for a higher minimum wage. (Andrew Stelzer/KQED)

KQED's Tiffany Camhi reports:

San Francisco's minimum wage is going up today to $12.25 an hour, tied with Oakland for the highest in the nation.

Today's increase is the city's second raise this year. It's all a part of the overwhelmingly approved Proposition J, which will bring San Francisco's minimum wage to $15 by 2018.

The National Employment Law Project is estimating that 142,000 workers in the city will see a boost in their paychecks.

Emeryville may be the next Bay Area city to raise its minimum wage to $12.25. Its City Council is set to vote on the measure next week.

Sponsored

Bay City News:

The increase comes after Oakland increased its minimum wage on  March 2.

On April 15, fast-food workers and other low-wage workers drew  national attention as they held protests across the country, including in the  Bay Area, to demand higher wages.

"Fast food workers have been an incredible inspiration in the  fight for $15," said Alysabeth Alexander, Service Employees International Union 1021's vice president of  politics.

"They have sparked a mass movement on behalf of all the low-wage  workers in our society. This economy is not working for everyday workers. We  need to fight for $15, raise the minimum wage and treat workers with the  dignity and respect they deserve," Alexander said.

The cities of Emeryville and Berkeley are also hoping to join the  path to $15 an hour.

A proposal in Emeryville will be considered on the first reading  by the City Council and calls for a minimum wage of nearly $16 by 2019, with  workers at major employers earning an immediate jump to $14.42.

The proposal  also guarantees paid sick days for workers, protects tips and ensures wage  increases alongside inflation, SEIU officials said.

In June, Berkeley's Labor Commission will bring the City Council a  proposal to raise the city's minimum wage to $15.99 by 2017. Currently the  minimum wage in Berkeley is $10.

"We are winning the Bay Area's fight for $15. The Bay Area is  moving to develop the first regional standard in the country for wages and  working conditions," said Gary Jimenez, SEIU 1021's vice president for the  East Bay. "San Francisco and Oakland have set the standard, now it's time to  expand to Berkeley, Richmond, Emeryville and beyond."

According to SEIU 1021 officials, the union will continue working  with community groups in other Bay Area cities considering raising their  wage.

Voters in both San Francisco and Oakland overwhelmingly approved  the raises last November. In San Francisco, proposition J won with 78 percent  of the vote; in Oakland, Measure FF won with 82 percent. The two  initiatives were each originally filed by a coalition of SEIU members,  community-based organizations and fellow labor unions.