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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Emeryville's Minimum Wage Ordinance to be Overtaken

Emeryville's Progressive Minimum Wage to be Rendered Obsolete

$15 Per Hour Statewide Coming

News Analysis
After passage of 2015's landmark Minimum Wage Ordinance, Emeryville's unique status as a nation-wide leader in labor law was always bound to be challenged sooner or later but starting now it appears our town is to become unremarkable once again; we are to become simply one town among many across California.  It's all as a result of an agreement reached between lawmakers in Sacramento and labor unions, moving the entire state's minimum wage to more than $15 per hour.  The 'Fight for $15' idea has proven to be popular with the electorate in the state, and the agreement to be announced Monday by the Governor will bypass what was likely to be a favorable decision reached in a ballot initiative threatened to be brought by the labor unions.

The new law highlighted by the Los Angeles Times will bring the lowest paid workers in California to $15 by 2022 with further raises linked to inflation as Emeryville's MWO does.  Also, the new state-wide law will provide for worker sick-leave pay similar to Emeryville's ordinance.

After buckling under union pressure, Governor Jerry Brown said he will likely make the formal announcement of the new law, the most progressive in the nation, tomorrow.
Both Democratic presidential hopefuls, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have thrown their support behind a nation-wide $15 minimum wage.

National politics being driven by ever increasing concern over ever increasing wealth inequality such as they are, Emeryville is poised to become obscure once more; out of the national public eye.  But our town will forever be seen as the place where the turn around started, the place where the multi-decade in the making nation-wide slide of the working poor was reversed.
Emeryville will nonetheless still recede back into relative obscurity unless of course forces turn our envious geographical location at the center of the Bay Area to again be reflective in the pay we grant to the lowest among us in the form of another ordinance raising the minimum wage.


  1. "Rendered obsolete" - you make it sound as if that's a bad thing...

    1. Obsolete as in: no longer useful because something new exists.

  2. Actually, Emeryville's minimum wage will go up to $16 in 2021 I believe before it settles into a yearly CPI increase. That means our minimum wage will be slightly higher than the state required minimum.

    1. It could turn out that way, yes. But it's sort of a difference without a distinction because of how close to parity the rest of California will be and more to the point, other cities with lower cost of living costs like for instance Fresno, will become a more desirable destination than Emeryville now is. Presumably, Emeryville will again raise the minimum wage here to more faithfully reflect our value in the market; leveraging the oft quoted 'supply and demand' nexus. This is the whole "regional minimum wage" paradigm in action the right wing in Emeryville likes to conjure at moments they deem to be opportune.

  3. Since the wage hikes in Emeryville this year, fewer workers are getting 40 hours per week. Even at Ross, a quite large employer, most workers are getting only part-time work. Trader Joe's, a font of integrity, is giving their employees
    full-time work while most of the other firms have instigated catch 22: If you get more, you get less.