Deal reached to take California minimum wage to $15 an hour

On Saturday, March 26, California legislators and labor unions reached an agreement that will take the state's minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

On Saturday, March 26, California legislators and labor unions reached an agreement that will take the state's minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

SACRAMENTO — California legislators and labor unions have reached a tentative agreement that will take the state’s minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour, a state senator said, a move that would make for the largest statewide minimum in the nation by far.

“This is not a done deal,” Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, told The Associated Press on Saturday. “Everyone’s been operating in good faith and we hope to get it through the Legislature.”

Leno said if an agreement is finalized, it would go before the Legislature as part of his minimum-wage bill that stalled last year.

If the Legislature approves a minimum-wage package, it would avoid taking the issue to the ballot. One union-backed initiative has already qualified for the ballot, and a second, competing measure is also trying to qualify.

“This is an issue I’ve been working on for many years,” Leno said. “The governor and stakeholders have all been negotiating earnestly and in good faith for some time.”

Leno did not confirm specifics of the agreement, but most proposals have the wage increasing about a dollar per year until it reaches $15 per hour.

The Los Angeles Times, which first reported the deal, said the wage would rise to $10.50 in 2017, to $11 an hour in 2018, and one dollar per year to take it to $15 by 2022. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to comply.

At $10 an hour, California already has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation along with Massachusetts. Only Washington, D.C., at $10.50 per hour is higher. The hike to $15 would make it the highest statewide wage in the nation by far, though raises are in the works in other states that might change by the time the plateau is reached in 2022.

Some states have passed higher minimums for government employees and state-contracted workers, and some cities including Seattle have already passed $15 an hour increases.

And Oregon officials approved a law earlier this month that will increase that state’s minimum wage to nearly $15 in urban areas over the next six years.

California union leaders, however, said they would not immediately dispense with planned ballot measures.

Sean Wherley, a spokesman for SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, confirmed that the SEIU parent union was involved in the negotiations. He said SEIU-UHWW’s leadership will decide whether to push ahead with its initiative that has already qualified for the ballot.

“Ours is on the ballot. We want to be certain of what all this is,” Wherley said. “If some agreement is signed into law, then our executive board would decide what to do. They would only make that decision after any agreement is signed into law.”

The union proposal that has already qualified for the ballot calls for reaching the $15 mark by 2021. The second proposed measure would reach $15 by 2020. Businesses and Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown have said such a steep wage increase would be incredibly costly.

A spokesman for Brown, Evan Westrup, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kevin Liao, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, declined to comment.CaliforniaCalifornia minimum wagelabor unionsMark LenoSacramento

Just Posted

The fate of San Francisco nicotine giant Juul remains to be seen, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether to allow certain flavored vape products on the market. <ins>(Jeenah Moon/New York Times)</ins>
How the vape king of teen nicotine addiction rose and fell in San Francisco

‘Hey, Juul, don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Most Read