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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

East Bay Express: Emeryville Small Business Victorious in Minimum Wage Debate

"Most of the Business Owners Got What They Wanted"

The East Bay Express reports on Emeryville's minimum wage debate.  They conclude the small business community was successful in driving their agenda in the policy that emerged from Tuesday's City Council meeting as the Council seeks to raise the minimum wage for all workers.

From today's East Bay Express:

Emeryville Business Owners, Workers Weigh in On Proposed $14.42 Minimum Wage

Last night, at a special study session meeting of the Emeryville City Council, dozens of business owners and workers spoke about the city’s proposed minimum wage increase. No business owner spoke out against raising the minimum wage. But almost all of them voiced concerns about the pace of the increase, and whether or not Emeryville should adopt what would be the highest municipal minimum wage in the nation. Some business owners asked for special exemptions for their businesses.

After hearing from the public, the council decided to draft an ordinance that starting on July 1 will increase Emeryville’s minimum wage to $14.42 an hour for large businesses and $12.25 an hour for small businesses. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 55 employees.

The draft ordinance will adjust the large employer wage upward each year to account for inflation. And the small employer $12.25 wage will be increased by a dollar each year until 2019 when it converges with the large employer minimum wage, creating a single minimum wage for all employers.

The Emeryville City Council will vote on the minimum wage next month.

Business owners and workers on both sides of the issue helped the council craft the proposal.

....Ultimately most of the business owners who spoke got what they wanted; a lower phased-in minimum wage increase. Large retailers, janitorial companies, and restaurant chains, of which there are many in Emeryville, will see an immediate increase to $14.42, however.

“The study session proved we had basically reached a consensus,” Emeryville Mayor Ruth Atkin said in an interview. “I expect this will be the version of the ordinance that ultimately goes through two readings and becomes law.”

Read the rest of the East Bay Express story HERE.


  1. The City Council always said that it would put the information about the wage increase out to the public and listen to the residents and business responses. They always had concerns for the small businesses, and in fact said that they would do all they could to support them. One council member said that a lot had been given to the large businesses, but the city had done little for the small businesses and it was time to support them. (I paraphrase). It was unfortunate that one member of the community made such divisive comments throughout this period and then had the audacity to attend the meeting and blame the council for dividing the community. His hostility was clear. There was no need for this, and totally mean-spirited and antagonistic. The goal of the council is to alleviate poverty and try to combat inequality. I think the council's action is wonderful.

    1. You've made a great point! Corporations are people too! How could I have forgotten? Shame on me for asserting that citizens (the flesh and blood kind) have agency.