by Brian Leubitz
San Francisco voters will have a chance to vote on a $15 minimum wage proposal this November in a gradually increasing wage compromise announced last month:
The mayor, city supervisors and business and labor leaders came together on the compromise – even the Chamber of Commerce was on hand – but service industry representatives warned the plan would be hard on restaurants and other hospitality-related businesses.
The compromise announced at City Hall would increase the city’s current hourly base pay, $10.74, to $12.25 next May 1, then to $13 in July 2016 and $1 each subsequent year until it reaches $15 in 2018. That would bring the annual pay for a full-time minimum-wage worker to $31,000. (SF Chronicle)
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, unions are working to get a requirement of a $15 minimum wage for city contractors:
Currently, Los Angeles has a living wage ordinance that requires that city contractors pay at least $12.28 per hour without health benefits, or slightly less with health benefits, according to its Bureau of Contract Administration website.
The Coalition of LA City Unions, which includes unions representing more than half of city workers, wants to raise that minimum to $15, Chairwoman Cheryl Parisi said Tuesday. It also wants to set the same bar for city employees.(LA Times)
Now, both of these proposals are not nearly as dramatic as some in the social justice movement would like. There is concern on the lower end of the labor market that some employees could be squeezed out. However, the data on these questions is very mixed, and in fact shows no statistical proof that minimum wage. As you can see from the chart to the right, all of the studies basically say that there will be very little economic impact. It may confound many of the free-market people, but data is data.
Seattle is facing its own hurdles in implementing the $15 minimum wage, with recent news that some business interests have filed signatures to put the measure to a referendum.