Update: A motion to adopt a higher minimum wage than surrounding cities without seeking voter approval failed on an 8-3 vote. The San Jose City Council then voted unanimously to place the measure before voters in November. A successful signature-gathering drive qualified the measure for the ballot, and speakers packed the Council Chambers on Tuesday to speak eloquently on behalf of the working poor who are having trouble raising families and meeting Silicon Valley’s high living costs while working at the state’s minimum wage.
Our earlier report:
Mayor Chuck Reed wants a minimum wage proposal to go to voters rather than be acted upon by the San Jose City Council.
“When the proponents circulated their petitions, those petitions were titled, ‘INITIATIVE MEASURE TO BE SUBMITTED DIRECTLY TO THE VOTERS‘,” Reed said in a statement. “The signature gatherers didn’t say they were going to ask the City Council to skip the voters.”
The San Jose City Council will discuss the Minimum Wage Initiative item at today’s council meeting, sometime after 3:30pm. The proposal would raise the minimum hourly wage in San Jose from $8 to $10, with annual increases tied to the consumer price index. If the council adopts the ordinance, it would go into effect in 90 days rather than go to voters.
San Jose State University sociology students and activist organizations collected 36,000 signatures in five weeks to place the proposal to raise San Jose’s minimum wage on the ballot. The proposal is endorsed by San Jose Councilmembers Xavier Campos. Kansen Chu and Ash Kalra as well as Assemblymembers Bob Wieckowski, Paul Fong and Nora Campos.
The endorsements are listed on the Raise the Wage SJ website. The coalition lists its address as 2102 Almaden Road, Suite 107, the same office shared by Working Partnerships USA and the South Bay Labor Council.
Major business groups, such as the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and San Jose Downtown Association, oppose adopting the measure outright. They fear it would send a business-unfriendly message and drive companies to adjacent cities that have not adopted local minimum wage ordinances. Proponents cite a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research which identified no detectable job loss from San Francisco’s minimum wage ordinance.
According to a statement by the mayor‘s office, “This ordinance was drafted outside San Jose’s normal process, which would normally include conducting outreach to impacted residents and businesses, holding public hearings, listening to the various stakeholders and taking their concerns into account, thoroughly analyzing policy options and working to reduce unintended consequences.”