Emeryville Set to Lead on Minimum WageThe Emeryville City Council Tuesday night unanimously expressed their desire to explore imposing a city-wide minimum wage ordinance setting the rate at $14.03 per hour possibly as early as July, an eventuality Councilman Scott Donahue chose to clarify today. "City-wide minimum wage is coming to our town and Emeryville's rate should not be less than Oakland's new minimum wage" he said, expelling any notions he would balk at the idea as reported by the East Bay Express last week.
"As long as there's no harm to the workers, I'm amenable to creating a pathway to a $15 per hour minimum wage" the Councilman added. Oakland's rate approved by their City Council starts at $12.25 effective March 1st but won't hit $15 until sometime after 2021 if at all.
Wants a path to $15
per hour minimum wage.
Mayor Ruth Atkin proposed the $14.03 city-wide rate Tuesday to match Emeryville's existing 'living wage' ordinance for City employees and City vendors. The Council agreed in principal to the Mayor's proposal with added worker protections and an annual cost of living increase baked in. They ordered the staff to put together an agenda item to that effect for future consideration. The $14.03 rate, if implemented this summer, would place Emeryville's minimum wage rate as the highest in the nation, but presumably only for a few years until eclipsed by San Francisco's new law that will set that city's minimum wage at $15 in 2018. It's now set at $12.25. Seattle will hit $15 in 2017 for companies with more than 500 employees. Emeryville would hit $15 per hour at an undisclosed date, depending on increases pegged to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate.
Council member Donahue, reported by the East Bay Express to be the only naysayer among the Emeryville City Council members said he needs to see the studies that show how workers will benefit to be convinced precisely where to set the minimum rate. The business community's vocal concerns wouldn't be as compelling he said, accepting a rate high enough to possibly drive out some businesses that currently pay poverty wages, "There might be some loss of marginal businesses in town" he noted, "but overall we're looking for a net gain for workers with this". He added, "We need to find the right balance".