San Francisco puts $15 minimum wage up to the voters

The proposed wage-increase has the support of labor leaders, city hall, business owners and the Chamber of Commerce.
By Matt Bradwell  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:32 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, June 11 (UPI) -- While other cities have legislated a $15 an hour minimum wage via city hall, San Francisco will leave the issue in the hands of its citizens.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, city supervisors, business and community leaders joined the Chamber of Commerce Wednesday to announce the new proposal that will be voted on in a ballot initiative.

"I can't tell you how happy I am - San Francisco is yet again setting the bar on workers' rights," said city Supervisor Jane Kim. "All San Francisco employers will be paying $15 an hour by 2018 - there will be no tip credit, no health care credit. These are pure wages workers will be bringing home to their families."

Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association warned that the business owners she represents may be harmed by new wage laws.

"We are a very different type of industry - hospitality is the backbone of the city and a very labor-intensive endeavor," Borden told the San Francisco gate. "For businesses with tight margins and low prices, it's going to be hard."

Supporters of the wage-hike say the proposed legislation has built in protections for small businesses, with Supervisor London Breed promising small business owners their best interests were kept in mind.

"Our No. 1 goal was to make sure employees have access to these funds, and No. 2, we don't want businesses to be negatively harmed by such an abrupt change," Breed said. "Larger businesses won't be, but for smaller entities with 20, 30, 40 or 50 employees, if this had happened all of a sudden, it could have had a major impact."

Lawmakers sought to combat such an impact by phasing the new law in. If passed, San Francisco's minimum wage would raise to $10.74, to $12.25 May 2015, then to $13 in July 2016 and $1 each year until it 2018.

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