Berkeley workers earning the minimum wage could be making $4 more per hour by 2020. At their November 10 meeting, after hours of public testimony, the Berkeley City Council approved in concept an expanded minimum wage schedule that locks in increases through 2020. The goal is to provide “a long-term solution to the fundamental problem of working people living in poverty due to stagnant wages.”
The Labor Commission presented a proposal that would have increased the minimum wage to $20 per hour by 2020. Ultimately, the City Council approved a substitute proposal, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Droste, Capitelli, Maio and Moore, that establishes stepped increases up to $15 per hour for large businesses (55 full-time-equivalent employees or more) by 2018, and $15 per hour for small businesses by 2020. Subsequent increases are to be based upon the Bay Area Consumer Price Index (CPI).
LWVBAE lobbied the City Council (September 2015) in favor of the increase, citing the LWVUS position that “social policy in the United States should promote self-sufficiency… and that the most effective social programs are those designed to prevent or reduce poverty.”
This proposal will continue increases to minimum wage after the current wage reaches its final rate of $12.56 per hour in 2016. The Council is expected to approve the final language early next year.
– Jill Martinucci
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