Berkeley Council hears minimum wage increase pleas

 Waiters at Comal. Photo: Postcard PR

Berkeley is looking at setting a $10.74 minimum wage (the same as San Francisco’s) for businesses with fewer than 50 employees which would affect many local businesses, including restaurants. Photo: Postcard PR

Berkeley’s adoption of an increased minimum wage moved a step closer this week. The City Council heard a long line of advocates urging adoption a $10.74 minimum wage for employees in Berkeley.

The City Council will have a special meeting on May 1 on a minimum wage ordinance.

The Commission on Labor’s recommendation to the Council is to set a $10.74 minimum wage (the same as San Francisco’s) for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and non-profits, to include a medical benefit requirement, and to adjust the minimum wage annually in line with CPI. For “corporate franchises” or businesses with over 50 employees, the commission recommends a minimum wage increase to “the equivalent of the Berkeley Living Wage,” which is currently $13.34 per hour.

“I urge you to assign more weight to the needs of low-wage workers and the wishes of your constituents than to anecdotal threats of economic doom by a few self-interested business owners,” said David Fielder, who has lived in Berkeley for more than 30 years.

“It’s a very straightforward issue of social justice,” said Nicky González Yuen. “One of the things I love about living in Berkeley is that we have as a community taken the lead on these issues time and time and time again.”

San Francisco adopted an increased minimum wage in 2004, while San José passed its higher minimum wage in 2012. Oakland and Richmond are considering new minimum wage laws, and the California legislature recently passed AB10, which will raise the state minimum wage to $10 by 2016. President Barack Obama signed an executive order in February that will raise the minimum wage for federal contract employees to $10.10 an hour, starting next Jan. 1.

While a number of public speakers anticipated pushback to the increase from local business owners, the two business owners that spoke on Tuesday night were both broadly supportive of an increase.

“There is no quality business without really well-paid employees,” said Dorothée Mitrani-Bell, owner of La Note and Café Clem downtown, and a member of the labor commission who abstained on the wage recommendations. “The implementation of this ordinance is what is really at stake for us small business owners. The schedule is a little steeper for some of us to work with right away.”

The commission’s plan is to institute the new required wage levels on June 30 this year, with increases to occur each subsequent June 30 based on the CPI for urban wage earners in the Bay Area. On June 30, 2015, an additional health care requirement is added, and starting in 2016 the small business minimum is increased by $0.55 each year after the CPI adjustment until it reaches parity with the Berkeley Living Wage, which is expected in 2022. After that, the proposal is that there is no distinction between large, small and non-profit businesses.

“We are in support of raising the minimum wage and working together to craft an ordinance that helps to raise up those individuals on the bottom of the wage scale,” said David Rowe, manager of the downtown restaurant Jupiter. “But the amount of this increase is just staggering. Simply put, it’s too much, too fast. We believe more investigation and fact finding is needed to illuminate the real world impact this will have… We implore you to take a very gradual, phased in approach to ensure that Berkeley’s small business community continues to thrive for years to come.”

Other Council business

In a meeting with a very light agenda, the City Council made a few other decisions on Tuesday night. A special session was devoted to the results of a community survey on potential ballot measures, and in the regular meeting the council agreed to commission a second survey with further questions.

As Berkeleyside previously reported, only a proposed sugar-sweetened beverages tax garnered significant majority support from surveyed likely voters. A second survey this month will hone the language on that proposal, focusing on the support for a 1 cent per ounce tax that could be a general tax (requiring simple majority support) or a special tax (needing 2/3rds majority).

There was strong council support as well to test further support for a reduced parks bond measure. In the community survey, 54% supported a 10% increase in the parks parcel tax, but to pass the measure would require 2/3rds support. A proposal to issue a $25 million bond and a $2 million special tax to fund operations mustered only 52% in the survey. Councilman Gordon Wozniak suggested a new survey could test a $15 million bond and a $1 million special tax.

“I think we have to think about a really stripped down version that just does the basics,” Wozniak said. “There’s going to be substantial opposition to any tax in Berkeley.”

Mayor Tom Bates called the deterioration of Berkeley’s parks “the major issue we have in our city at this time.”

The third item on the new survey will test further a commercial vacancy tax, which had only 54% support in the first survey.

“The large number of ground floor vacancies creates blight in our communities,” said Councilman Jesse Arreguín. “That’s an important issue. It has a direct impact in terms of economic development and our vitality.”

The council unanimously gave the go ahead for AC Transit’s proposed improvements to line 51B.

“AC Transit has done an incredible job of responding to every complaint,” said Councilmember Kriss Worthington.”

Finally, in a nearly empty council chamber, City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan talked about her audit report following the discovery of a $52,000 theft of marina funds.

“The opportunities to steal in the city of Berkeley are too numerous,” Hogan said.

She urged the adoption of better procedures — such as no shared passwords, and splitting the handling of cash and recording of it — and cautioned that cutting supervisory positions can create more opportunity for theft and fraud. City Manager Christine Daniel supported all of Hogan’s recommendations.

AC Transit rolls back Line 51 changes after pushback in Berkeley (03.24.14)
Sugar tax hits the sweet spot for Berkeley residents (03.14.14)
Minimum wage ‘tip credit’ idea gets cold shoulder (06.21.13)
Berkeley considers city-wide minimum wage hike

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  • guest

    She also spends almost every dollar earned on snacking out with friends, clothes, and music on Shattuck, Telegraph and Solano. If you give her a raise, you give those business owners a raise too.

  • Right

    Right, because nobody can have an opinion about something that doesn’t directly effect them. That’s why men can’t have opinions about abortion. Right.

  • Dan McDunn

    That is me, guest, but I don’t believe that is your real name.

    Not that it is any of your business, but I’ve never paid anyone minimum wage. My payroll this year has had as many as 6 guys on it between $12 and $36 an hour.

    I love how no one has engaged me on my other post, but instead have been eager to make personal attacks. I have hired out of the hood and it made me realize the destructive affects of the minimum wage for people with limited options. It is a philosophical argument for me, and one I believe is worth having. No one is complaining about white college interns working for free at google for experience, but if I want to help kids learn some basic job skills, get them off the corners, and pay them in line with there ability to create value for me, we want to criminalize that.

    I listen to a philosophy podcast, and the host always says that the first one to make a personal attack in an argument loses. Makes sense to me.

  • guest?

    if we lowered the minimum wage, is there any chance that teenagers would be less likely to get the experience because they have less incentive?

  • guest

    You talk over and over again about someone holding a gun to your head.

    As a business owner, have you ever had the experience of a government official holding a gun to your head? Or is this just irrational, inflammatory rhetoric that makes it harder to think clearly about the issue?

    Are you against government ticketing people who park illegally, because they are controlling the way they park by “holding a gun to their head”?

  • Guest

    “Most libertarians I know own their own homes. Most occupy-friendly lefties I know are lifelong beneficiaries of rent control.”

    Since the “discussion” entails listing inflammatory, personal anecdotes I would say yes, it adds exactly what it should.

  • guest

    No chance. The rich need lower taxes to increase their incentive, but the poor don’t need higher wages to increase their incentive.

  • guest

    Dan, aren’t you concerned that we will return to a 19th century world in which children were paid pennies to pull 12 hour shifts in factories? Weren’t they paid the market rate? How about sharecroppers in the south? Was that a function of the magic of the market place? Aren’t their cases in which the free market causes enormous suffering? I’m fine with free markets, but it’s an economic system, not a religion.

  • sam g

    IF you are a business person in Berkeley who has employees ( as you are) it should not have been embarrassing to note that fact. Instead you chose to make silly Ayn Rand economic arguments without disclosing a VERY important fact about your own self interest in the matter. No matter WHAT wages you pay your employees ALL wages are ultimately affected by the minimum wage. That is why the proponents want to raise the minimum. I don’t believe its personal when someone discloses a proponents ECONOMIC bias in the arguments they make. You stand to GAIN from the status QUO.
    Just say so. I notice you did not start your argument by proudly noting “I am an employer in Berkeley who will be affected by this proposal”.

  • guest

    If there are laws requiring decent conditions for labor, that is the government “holding a gun to the head” of business owners.

    If children have to work 12 hour shifts to avoid starving, that is freedom of choice.

  • Dan McDunn

    I think discussing the gun, which backs up all state policy, foreign and domestic, whether you want to admit it or not, makes it a lot easier to think clearly about the role of the state in our lives. Has anyone put from the state ever put a gun to my head, no, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    You know who has put a gun to my head though, a group of six 19-24 year old kids in Philadelphia as I was counting my till at the bar I worked at for $2.13 an hour plus tips. They got caught, and were tried. I testified as a witness, and sat through the whole trial. Each one said they did it because they lacked opportunities for productive employment and were bored. They probably work now for Prison Industries, inc. for under $1 an hour costing the taxpayer $50k a year a piece. These are the kids I’m worried about. They deserve the opportunity to get on the ladder to productive fulfilling lives, and when they lack those opportunities, I worry about them because they affect my safety in our community.

  • Dan McDunn

    I’m Not concerned about that at the moment. I am concerned that we are 58 months into an “economic recovery” (53 months is the post war average), that interest rates are still at zero, that an Internet company that delivers food (seen this one before?) went public today, and despite our recent experience with 2 major bubbles and the resulting effect on unemployment, we are talking about making it 40% more expensive for employers to hire entry level labor. Meanwhile the city council can’t figure out why there are empty storefronts when they just voted to forbid a Starbucks (one of the only companies with the stomach and $ to put up with the zoning process). I don’t know how inserting a bit of common sense into this conversation could be construed as religious zeal, but whatever.

    Let’s cross the child labor problem bridge if we get there. In the meantime, we have some non-theoretical issues to talk about.

  • Dan McDunn

    Zinger Mr. G. See my reply to your comment.

  • guest

    The cost of college is going up generally. Do you have a separate conspiracy theory for each college?

  • Dan McDunn

    Is that right? Thanks for letting me know. I went to a marginal state school in Texas so am way over my skis here. How do you handle an increase in labor costs at your business? Oh.

  • Dan McDunn

    I used my real name, Mr. G. I guess I am in Berkeley, because this is the only place on earth where one can make an argument like this with a straight face.

  • Sandra

    That’s Professor Yellen to the likes of you. What kind of business do you run anyhow? I’ve run three myself in different areas and all were profitable paying well above the minimum. Often it’s the incompetent business owners who are looking for someone else to blame for their own bad decisions.

  • guest

    Dan, don’t be silly. My point was pretty obvious. You were making a boilerplate argument about the magic of the marketplace. I was using child labor as an example of how the marketplace isn’t always that magical. Arguing that the market, at all times and in all places, will work for the best, is ideological. And arguments against the minimum wage are exactly the same as those made in the past against laws preventing child labor.

  • Dan McDunn

    You should try this thought experiment. Actually, better yet, just try it. Go get a parking ticket and then don’t pay it, and let the situation play itself out. Can you see the gun now?

  • Dan McDunn

    I think that is great Sandra! I have never paid anyone minimum wage in any of my businesses either. That is a necessary reality to attract decent talent in the construction business.

    As I keep trying to point out, but no one seems to want to engage me on, there is a very marginalized segment of the population that is completely priced out of the labor market. Because I have an existing personal connection to this segment, I have voluntarily employed people in this category (and for the record, I did not apply for the federal tax credit here because I don’t have the bandwidth as a small business person to handle the EXTRA government paperwork), including convicted ex-felons that I started at $12 an hour as a way to increase the incentive for exiting the drug sales business. I have hired and managed 22-24 year old kids that haven’t graduated from high school, and have been in and out of jail, and who are managing parole and probation officers, and have to be told they can’t bring guns to work, and have to be told that they can’t have food poisoning and dentist appointments more than twice a week, and don’t take instruction well, and make people at the Peet’s at Walnut and Vine become obviously visibly uncomfortable (racists obviously), and text all day at work, and leave early to go get their EBT cards… When these kids get their first job from a self absorbed capitalist like me who believes its better to teach people to fish than give them fish, they cost the employer a LOT of money, and most don’t ever get close to becoming a break even exchange. I no longer employ this portion of the population, but it’s only because the guns kept showing up at the job, and the rest of my guys confronted me about it.

    How does making entry level labor like this more expensive help? Now, someone engage me on this and we can have a real debate.

    In the meantime, take a look in the mirror. Who made your iProducts, your fancy Nikes, your vehicle, your sweatshirt… Who is cutting your grass? Picking your weeds? Do they have a city of Berkeley business license? Are they paying their workers comp and insurance? Taxes? What about the last home improvement project you had done? If it was over $600 a California Contractor’s license was required, or it is a misdemeanor for a first time offense and a felony if it happens again (see the gun now). Was it more than a self proprietor, because he or she needs workers comp? Did you check up on those things? Did you take the contractor’s “discount for cash?” I see this stuff happening at nearly every home in Berkeley, and yet everyone is super eager to tell others what to do. When you can come back and tell me that everything you consume was ethically produced and you are following the letter of the law (impossible by the way) in your daily life, let’s talk. In the meantime, live and let live.

  • Dan McDunn

    Sorry. Professor Yellen, can you please print some more money? I think it is important that we continue to erode the purchasing power of the existing money supply, at everyone’s expense, so that we can increase the nominal wage of entry level employees and all feel better about ourselves.

  • Dan McDunn

    I have reread all my posts, and the responses to them. I am afraid that while my posts are passionate, I believe that the responses to them are presented with relatively more ideological zeal, and some include personal attacks, which is always a sign that ideology is at play. The article indicates the city council wants to tax empty storefronts and make it more expensive to hire employees. How is pointing out the absurdity of that arguing that the marketplace is magical? How is communicating a personal experience that has informed my opinion of the destructive consequences of the minimum wage, harmful to this discussion? At least I am using my real name. I am easy to find and happy to discuss these things. I am open to hearing the other side of the argument, and can possibly be persuaded into changing my mind. Can you say the same things? Who is ideological here?

  • John Freeman

    Alright Dan, I’ll play.

    You’ve argued that there’s a segment of the population who would become employable without minimum wage rules. Your paradigm example is I guess a young male who has been in and out of jail, who has dealt drugs, who is apt to bring a gun to work and leave early to pick up an EBT card, and I gather is probably Black.

    For a moment, I’d like to ask you to speak to the impacts of lowering the minimum wage beyond that one segment of people.

    Millions of people are currently employed at national, state, or local minimum wages. One side effect of eliminating minimum wage laws is that it will become permissible for employers to reduce wages for those jobs.

    Won’t those minimum wage workers and their communities be harmed when employers lower wages in order to raise profits?

    Of course, lowering those wages will “free up capital” that could perhaps be used to invest in job-creating growth. Only there’s a problem with that: For a long time the amount of capital available to invest in real growth has significantly exceeded the amount of investment opportunities in real growth!

    Freeing up capital to fuel job-creating growth is kind of silly because there is already plenty of capital available for that use. The problem is that the investment opportunities don’t really exist.

    And, of course, if wages overall eventually become *too* low we should experience massive deflation … but that would cause massive job losses and an economy-crashing downward spiral.

    I think your impulse to try to hire people who need to stretch, learn, and grow into some positions is great but I think your claims about the effects of eliminating minimum wage law are nonsense.

  • sam g

    Here is why I know your name: About a year ago I received –out of the blue the only time in the 19 years we’ve owned our home—a letter from YOU whom, i had never met and who had never been in our home, asking to purchase our house for cash. :”Please calculate what you think you ‘d want for your house and call me ASAP”. A personal looking letter from a familiar north Berkeley street. I was perplexed. Our house is not distressed. I called you to ask who you were. I quickly figured out that you knew nothing about me or our house but were a contractor in the market for distressed homes (about 25 years too late for our block). THEN I noticed your stomach turning (to me) comments on this topic, recalled your name and realized you had made many posts without fessing up to the fact that you are a Berkeley business potentially affected by the law. My guess is you HAVE benefitted from government regulation especially in your business. Few of us are self made. My family –including myself–have been involved in small businesses for three generations. Heres a tip I learned from my Grandparents: if you are in a business that relies on the public for customers it may be well not to advertise you political opinions, as those who disagree with them might choose to go hire someone else. You’ve chosen to do the opposite. More power to you!

  • guest

    I appreciate that you are using your real name whereas I am not. I’m very sorry if I came off as rude; it was not my intention, and I hate it when conversations on these boards become personal attacks. I do have a genuine concern that market forces, by themselves, unchecked by government, can become destructive, and I’m not at all convinced that free markets for labor will always work out for the best. That’s hardly being ideological. However, that in no way says that you are not making valid and reasonable points. Fair enough?

  • Dan McDunn

    Those are definitely some interesting points. I agree that there aren’t a lot of great options available in which to deploy capital. Like minimum wage, that is also an extremely complicated problem.

    There are 1.7 million people paid hourly at the minimum wage, and 2.2 million in tipped positions employed below the minimum wage, out of roughly 126,000,000 total people in the American workforce. Having had tipped jobs that paid me $2.13 an hour in wages with total comp ranging from $8ish an hour when I started in the service industry to well over $50 an hour at my last bartending job, and with the federal law requiring that tipped employees must make at least the federal minimum wage, I’d estimate that maybe 25% of those tipped employees are hovering right around the minimum. So, we are talking about roughly 2.2 million people – 1.7% of the total workforce at the minimum wage. Of that group of 2.2 million roughly half are 24 or under – kids more or less just getting started in the workforce. We are talking about 1.1 million adults – .87% of the workforce.

    If the tendency is for wages to gravitate towards the artificially created minimum wage floor, and if there is a real risk that wages would go below that number for a meaningful portion of the workforce if it were removed, shouldn’t there be more people at $7.25? It is probably true that some employers would be able to attract employees away from the social safety net below this number. I agree that if that happens it could pull some wages down, but I disagree that it would have a meaningful impact on all wages. Employers will always want to reduce expenses, but they won’t do it if it costs them the profitability that comes with well motivated loyal employees that they can’t get in the absence of a competitive wage.

    The total youth unemployment rate is presently 16% and 25% among young African Americans (labor force participation of African Americans is below 60%). These people are priced out of the market at $7.25, because at some wage they’d all be able to find work. As they say, idle hands are the devil’s playground and I have to believe that high levels of unemployment have helped, in conjunction with the ridiculous war on drugs, to contribute to the 2 million people in prison at the moment, and the 850,000 on parole and/or probation. More than any other society in the history of the planet.

    I am willing to admit that I could be wrong. I have gone 180 degrees over the last decade. For background, I lead a group that prevented a Wal-Mart from going into the Sellwood neighborhood in Portland, mainly out of a passion for workers’ rights, and also lead a group that stopped a McDonald’s from going into a North Central Philadelphia neighborhood in the name of food accessibility. I am basically just a carpenter with a marketing degree from a marginal state University in Texas. Since I work with my hands I have a lot of time to listen to a wide range of radio from Democracy Now to Alex Jones. I spend a lot of time thinking about these issues, and have always been willing to put my money where my mouth is.

    This is a big complicated problem. Many of the comments here have asserted the fact that there will be no downside, no unforeseen consequences to increasing the state imposed floor to wages, just upside. I don’t think that is true. I do agree that some people will benefit. There will also be a lot of losers. There are 500,000 people that the CBO estimates will lose their jobs if the wage is increased at the Federal level. More importantly though, in my opinion, are the unseen losers. The kids that will never get jobs in free society, that will never get off the corners, until they go to prison and get their first job at $.25 an hour making license plates or bullet proof vests. Isn’t there some chance that if a local businessperson could give them a broom and the same $.25 an hour before they go to prison, we’d be better off as a society? I want people to be as happy and productive and well compensated and free as they possibly can. I just happen to think that the path to get there is different than the prevailing opinion on Berkeleyside. I have very much enjoyed the discussion though!

  • Charles_Siegel

    It sounds like it wouldn’t be profitable to hire the people you describe, no matter how low the wage.

    You started them at $12 per hour out of the goodness of your heart, and you are to be admired for that. You could still start them at $12 per hour under this law. The problem was guns rather than the wage.

    I agree that lots of laws are arbitrary and should be gotten rid of, such as the law requiring a contractor that you mention. It does not follow that all laws should be gotten rid of.

  • Dan McDunn

    I am going to let your comments stand on their own. They help my argument more than any come back I can come up with.

  • Dan McDunn

    I don’t remember saying that all laws should be gotten rid of. You are correct, the problem was guns as they made my other employees feel unsafe. Not because of the presence of the guns though, but because of the potential reasons why they felt the need to have a gun at work. The whole idea to hire from this pool was based on a long standing personal relationship with my little brother from the Big Brothers and Sisters program who ive known for almost 20 years. I have learned a lot from this relationship and tried on numerous occasions to hire him and other guys like him with the goal that one day my investment could payoff for me, them and society at large. It has not worked and I’m out of gas to keep trying. These kids need to be gotten to much earlier, at 12 or before (the same age I was when I had my first paper route and started mowing lawns in the neighborhood), but it’s illegal to employ them at the wage they are worth (even if the wages arent the point) so many of them sell drugs and never have a chance.

  • Dan McDunn

    I don’t think that you were rude. Other folks that disagree with my position have been, but I am happy to hear that. Calling names, being hostile behind an alias, failing to recognize that someone could be making a decent point even if it contradicts your own beliefs, I love all that stuff. It reveals the hollowness of the opposing viewpoint, and strengthens my case.

    Most of these opinions that I am reading, and that I engage with on a daily basis, have been formed behind some cubicle walls, and haven’t been shaped by personal experience. A great many of them are held by people in professions that would not even exist absent the heavy hand of the state, and therefore they have a personal incentive to not be able to see the other side of this argument. That does not make them invalid. Feel free to think whatever you want, but as long as you are going to live in a community of intellectuals, at least be willing to hear the other side of the argument without calling names or acting with hostility. Not you, this guest to which my post follows, but to some of the other folks that lack the intellectual fortitude to have a cordial discussion about a critical issue to our society.

  • guest

    You don’t help your case by spouting this sort of crackpot economics. Given how low the inflation rate has been during the last few years, we would have had deflation if the Fed had not printed money to counter the recession – which would have turned the recession into a depression.

  • John Freeman

    A few quick replies.

    Your way of counting the number of minimum wage workers is pretty bogus. For example, you say there are “1.7 million people paid hourly at the minimum wage”.

    You are counting only workers at federal minimum wage. Many states and localities have higher minimum wage.

    If we add in just California minimum wage workers we already roughly double the number directly effected by minimum wage laws.

    The number of workers directly effected by minimum wage laws is much larger than you have it.

    You ask:

    If the tendency is for wages to gravitate towards the artificially created minimum wage floor, and if there is a real risk that wages would go below that number for a meaningful portion of the workforce if it were removed, shouldn’t there be more people at $7.25?

    The number of jobs at the minimum wage floor is much larger than those at the $7.25 floor because you overlooked state and local minimum wage laws.

    Additionally you are overlooking that wages slightly above minimum wage are sometimes offered to compete against minimum wage employers. Eliminating minimum wage lessens that competition among employers and may lower other wages as well.

    Conversely, I think you can find empirical research that shows that raising the minimum also raises some already-higher wages: because it heats up competition among employers.

    Employers will always want to reduce expenses, but they won’t do it if it costs them the profitability that comes with well motivated loyal employees that they can’t get in the absence of a competitive wage.

    By eliminating a minimum wage you are lowering the bar of what a “competitive wage” is in some sectors.

    And of course if you look around I’m sure that you can see many, many low wage business models that do not depend upon especially “well motivated” or “loyal” employees.

    There are 500,000 people that the CBO estimates will lose their jobs if the wage is increased at the Federal level.

    I think a lot of this is just deck-chair rearrangement.

    There is less and less opportunity (relatively speaking) for real economic expansion. Producers are therefore increasingly pressured to preserve or grow profits by reducing costs, mainly the cost of labor. The non-utility of these profits makes matters worse because the profits wind up having to inflate financial market bubbles. Inevitably it is wage earners who get stuck with higher and higher costs of living as a result of those bubbles (e.g., see the housing market bubble and the ongoing heat of speculative real estate investment).

    Isn’t there some chance that if a local businessperson could give them a broom and the same $.25 an hour before they go to prison, we’d be better off as a society?

    No, I don’t think you’ve made a case that that is at all plausible.

  • Dan McDunn

    Lots of good points here. Thank you for giving me some additional things to think about. Like it or not, local labor must compete globally, so increasing its cost here further reduces the opportunity to profitably deploy capital and create jobs near home. Additionally, Forcing the wage floor higher only makes the ROI models for more automation in the service economy more attractive and will increase unemployment. It will also, no doubt, have a greater impact on small businesses than on large corporations. We will no doubt see some store closures as a result, and this will reduce competition for the surviving players. When we eventually see dot com 2.0 and real estate 2.0 bubbles pop (of course maybe its different this time) and unemployment spikes again I think we will be in a deeper hole to crawl out of having moved the wage floor higher. I may be totally wrong. This could all work out great. I don’t really have a horse in the race. I guess we are probably going to get to find out and I look forward to observing the outcome.

  • Dan McDunn

    you may be right. Of course I did just get a 5 pack of granola bars where there used to be 6. No inflation?

  • Nicky Gonzalez Yuen

    Overall, this is a balanced and reasonable approach to the problem of poverty level wages. It allows employees to work and live with greater dignity. It simultaneously recycles their purchasing power back into the economy. It increases worker loyalty, reducing turnover and increasing productivity. And it establishes a series of high benchmarks for wage compensation at a gradual and predictable pace.

    Study after study demonstrate the value of increasing the minimum wage. The recent results coming out of San Jose, one year after their $2 p/h increase, confirm this. Wages for 40,000 workers went up, moving $160 million into the local economy. Unemployment dropped by almost 2%. AND business growth quickened, especially in the leisure and hospitality sector which added 4000 new jobs to the San Jose economy.

    This is a win-win for everyone. Let’s replicate this kind of success right here in Berkeley.

  • guest

    I live in Berkeley and work for minimum wage. So do all of my neighbors. And because we’re so broke, we don’t have much a choice but to do all of our shopping in Berkeley.

    Thanks for lumping all of us poor people together and forgetting that there are some of us who actually live in Berkeley.

  • stu edwards

    This will only cuts job, will decimate small business that already barely survive,etc…the biggest beneficiary/// big government,more tax payroll, more tax from employee paycheck…i have an idea…why dont cut taxes and put more in workers pocket.

  • IndpendentPauper

    In all of the discussion about minimum wages I have not heard anyone bring up the issue with independent contractors. I once worked as an independent contractor, as do many others, and was legally paid below minimum wage. I could be wrong but as I understand it, independent contractors, are considered their own business so they are supposed to dictate their own pay. However, independent contractor classification is widely abused allowing for employers to pay their contractors very low rates. I would like to see this proposal address independent contractor pay as well to avoid a potential loophole.