Ballot Measure Would Boost Hours for Part-Time Workers

A measure coming up for a vote this fall would require San Jose employers to offer more hours to part-time workers before bringing on new hires.

The City Council on Tuesday, in its final meeting before the summer recess, will vote on whether to run the full text of the “Opportunity to Work” initiative on the November ballot and whether to allow rebuttals, which would up the cost.

Silicon Valley labor leaders asked the council to adopt the proposal as an ordinance, which would save the $928,000 it costs to bring it to voters. But it looks like it’s headed to the General Election ballot.

The proposal, backed by the South Bay Labor Council, exempts businesses with fewer than 35 employees. Proponents say it would up wages for 64,000 part-time workers in San Jose. Those employees are predominantly women and minorities, according to a study published earlier year.

Critics, including the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, fear the measure would hurt businesses by limiting their ability to hire a workforce that meets their needs.

Councilman Johnny Khamis urged voters to kill the measure and said the city should pay the extra cash to include a rebuttal on the ballot. The proposal, he said, should more aptly be called the “Opportunity to Destroy Jobs” initiative.

“The initiative will eliminate job opportunities for non-privileged students who, like me, work part-time to put themselves through college so that they can make a better life for themselves and their families,” he wrote in a scathing memo.

Proponents argue that the initiative remedies an abusive employment practice, which businesses take advantage of to avoid paying benefits. The result is a crisis of under-employment that forces part-time workers to take on multiple jobs with no benefits.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for June 28, 2016:

  • The city has identified a possible site for a "tiny home" community to house the homeless, a property on Evans Lane near Curtner Avenue in south San Jose.
  • Churches and other religious organizations will be able to offer temporary shelter to the homeless if the city suspends permitting requirements.
  • The city plans to spend $5 million over the next three years to house homeless veterans. According to the latest homeless census, Santa Clara County is home to the fifth largest population of homeless military veterans in the nation.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHRE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

This article has been updated.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. I agree with Khamis. Doesn’t San Jose have enough problems to worry about? Also the irony of not including union employees in this. Years ago I enjoyed working extra part time hours but the union stopped that because they wanted the city to hire FT workers. I didn’t want to work FT so my union screwed me over.

  2. > The city has identified a possible site for a legal homeless camp, a property on Evans Lane near Curtner Avenue in south San Jose.

    Why does it have to be in San Jose, particularly if “the homeless” are from other places.

    Why not pay to have the “legal homeless camp” in Pacific Heights next to Dianne Feinstein’s house, or in Tiburon next to Barbara Boxer’s house.

    Or, if cost is an issue (I can’t imagine why it would be in a satrapy run by Democrats) have “the legal homeless camp” somewhere near a decommissioned nuclear power plant in the Mojave Desert.

    The “homeless” don’t need to have a view of the Bay or be in walking distance of the Theater District.

  3. > Churches and other religious organizations will be able to offer temporary shelter to the homeless if the city suspends permitting requirements.

    What?! Permit preferences for Churches? Whatever happened to “separation of Church and State”?

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg will have a cow.

  4. > The city plans to spend $5 million over the next three years to house homeless veterans. According to the latest homeless census, Santa Clara County is home to the fifth largest population of homeless military veterans in the nation.

    Why not just spend forty seven cents on a first class postage stamp and send a letter to President Obama and ask him to have his lazy, corrupt, good for nothing Veterans Administration do the job for veterans that they’re supposed to do?

    We’ve got our hands full running San Jose. We can’t be doing the Federal Government’s job for them.

  5. This was a problem created by the federal government meddling in the private sector, It’s called “Obama Care”
    The city can’t fix it you have to go after bureaucracy that created it, and vote them out !

    • Your right JOC.,
      That’s why the French invented the guillotine!
      Perhaps we could elect so new politicians that can fire those bureaucrats.

        • Therein lies the problem. I suppose the next best thing is shutting off the supply of money, they will go away by themselves. It’s like not feeding the bears.

          • To shut off the supply of yet more of your hard earned money for homeless programs doomed to fail as have all others in the past, vote NO in NOvember on this latest pocket picking tax. This will force all those grant writing, tax collecting homeless “advocates” to get real jobs. How much more money do you want taken from you for programs that have failed miserably for 50+ years…except for the city workers and NGO workers who spend most of the money on their salaries?


      > It’s official — trickle-down economics is bunk. Minnesota has proven it once and for all. If you believe otherwise, you are wrong.

      An interesting story that invites further examination.

      Since “progressives” can NEVER be counted on to tell the truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth I suspect that there is more to the story than the miracle of taxing the rich.

      What, for instance, is the situation in Minnesota respecting illegal immigration and welfare?

      Minnesota is a society with a rich heritage of Nordic Christian industriousness. Minnesotans are responsible people who work hard. Minnesota is a stern climate: bitter arctic winters, and oppressive mosquito infested summers in the land of ten thousand mosquito breeding lakes.

      Those who don’t like to work hard, don’t like cold weather, and don’t like mosquitos have all the incentive they need to cease being a burden on Minnesota and remove themselves to sunnier, warmer climes where the welfare is easy and generous and the housing is subsidized.

      Bottom line, if Minnesota were the enduring poster child of sustainable big government welfarism, it would be BIG news.

      I don’t expect to see caravans of homeless leaving San Jose and heading to International Falls anytime soon.

  6. …vote NO in NOvember That’s very good, JM! So with writing skillz like that, how come you didn’t win that election back in the ’80’s? ☺

    Good points, though. This is just another special interest proposal they want us to vote for. It will be a lot of money for very little return. The difference will be in patronage: politicians ultimately get to put whoever they want into jobs that will quickly become very highly paid/compensated for the skill involved. Those jobs, of course, can be translated into a lot more votes than just the person getting the job. Maybe she’s the daughter of the local Rotary president…

    Anyway, it’s best to vote against all bond measures. Bonds are either a reaction to the government deferring maintenance in order to overpay salaries, and now they want the public to pay again for the deferred maintenance, or they’re a chameleon bond like this one that benefits a few at everyone else’s expense.

    Either they’ve spent the money on other things, or they want more things than taxpayers have already paid for, or they want taxpayers to be saddled with a new special interest albatross like this one, that we’ll have to pay for over the next few decades.

    So they wrote up this bond proposal, which effectively raises our future taxes. We’re told to pay it all, friends. We can only say No once. But if we ever say Yes, it’s a Done Deal. There’s no do-over. We pay up, and for a long time.

    Isn’t it time for local governments to start living within their means, like we have to? Voting “NO” in November is the only kind of fiscal discipline these governments ever see. If taxpayers give them this easy money (from our pockets, don’t forget), does anyone believe they won’t be back again STAT, with their hands out for more?

    This is just another special interest bond — and folks, we aren’t the special ones. This bond won’t benefit 99% of the public. They want a little money from everyone so a few folks can cash in. And “a little money from everyone” means from you and me. Our money. Into their pockets. A cost, but no benefit to us, and little actual benefit for the money spent. They hope the chumps will vote to pay up again. Don’t be a chump…

    Please vote NO! in NOvember.

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